Hospital Ends Relationship with Kirk Cousins over QB's COVID-19 Vaccine Stance

Blake SchusterContributor IAugust 6, 2021

Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins (8) throws during a NFL training camp Friday, July 30, 2021, in Eagan, Minn. (AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn)
AP Photo/Bruce Kluckhohn

Holland Hospital in southwest Michigan has severed ties with Minnesota Vikings star Kirk Cousins because of the quarterback's refusal to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a statement released Friday (via WHTC), the medical center in Cousins' hometown said it can no longer use the 32-year-old as a spokesperson in the interest of consistent and safe public messaging:

"As the trusted health care leader along the lakeshore, we are committed to providing accurate, timely health information and guidance based on guidelines from the CDC and medical experts.
"While we acknowledge that each person is entitled to their own viewpoints, those who speak on our behalf must support messages that align with the hospital's position on matters of vital importance to individual and community health.
"For this reason, Holland Hospital will discontinue using Kirk Cousins as our spokesperson for now. We are proud of our association with Kirk. He embodies many values we respect and share as part of our work culture.
"However, we must be certain that our communications about COVID vaccination are consistent and unequivocal.
"The clear recommendation from the CDC and leading medical experts is that the COVID vaccine is safe, effective and the best defense against becoming infected with the virus. Evidence also indicates that vaccinated individuals may be less likely to carry and transmit the virus to others including children, family members and friends.
"For these reasons, Holland Hospital has and will continue to strongly recommend the COVID vaccine to those who are eligible to receive it. It is important that Holland Hospital maintain the trusted reputation we have earned for providing consistent, truthful information and evidence-based health care guidance."

WHTC reported Cousins had appeared in videos for the hospital since 2017.

The veteran was one of three quarterbacks Minnesota placed on the reserve/COVID-19 list recently and has acknowledged he did not receive the vaccine. That decision drew the ire of head coach Mike Zimmer, who noted the competitive advantage gained by clubs that have a majority of their players vaccinated. The Vikings reportedly have the lowest vaccination rate in the league with less than 85 percent of players having been vaccinated. 

The NFL told clubs in July that if a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated players results in the cancellation of a game that cannot be rescheduled, the team that has the outbreak will forfeit the contest. 

After landing on the COVID-19 list, Cousins told reporters the reason he was declared a close contact is because the quarterback room was too small. He suggested he could sit behind plexiglass to be "vigilant" indoors.