Falcons Become 1st NFL Team to Have Every Player Vaccinated Against COVID-19

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVAugust 16, 2021

GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 13:  The Atlanta Falcons logo on a bag during the NFL football game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Arizona Cardinals on October 13, 2019 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are the first team in the NFL to have  100 percent of their players receive a COVID-19 vaccination, according to Zach Klein of WSB Atlanta.

As Scott Bair of the team's official site noted, the players now receive a wide range of benefits for the high vaccination rate based on NFL protocols, including not having to wear masks around the team facility. The players also do not have to face daily tests for COVID-19 or quarantine after close contact with someone who does test positive.

This could allow more players to stay on the field during the 2021 season.

The difference can be important with the NFL noting that outbreaks among unvaccinated players could lead to forfeits this season.

While some NFL players have been outspoken against the vaccine, including Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins and Buffalo Bills receiver Cole Beasley, the majority of the league has been vaccinated.

Rob Maaddi of the Associated Press reported on July 30 that 88.5 percent of players have had at least one shot while 20 teams had at least a 90 percent vaccination rate.

This is a higher rate than the general public with 59.8 percent of the total population in the United States and 70 percent of the eligible population (people age 12 or older) receiving at least one shot as of Monday, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

The Falcons' success also comes as Georgia remains one of the least vaccinated states in the country with just 48.1 percent of the total population getting at least one shot, per the Mayo Clinic.

"All we try to do is provide the information so guys can make their own personal choices and make everything available for them to educate themselves," head coach Arthur Smith said in June. "Again, these are all personal choices."