When players reported to training camp at the beginning of last week, the Washington Football Team was one of the lowest vaccinated clubs in the NFL. At the time, only about 60 percent of the roster had received at least one shot of the vaccine.
Fast forward nearly two weeks later and Washington has made significant strides. On Thursday, head coach Ron Rivera confirmed the team had reached the 85% threshold for vaccinations, a mark that once reached, the NFL allows that specific club to loosen its protocols.
"Kudos to the players for trying to get as informed and educated on it as much as possible," Rivera said. "That's a good thing. That's a plus. We're heading in the right direction."
When camp began, Rivera voiced his frustration about his team's low vaccination rate. He doesn't know if his comments swayed some of his players to get vaccinated, but he's glad that more of them have decided to get the shot.
"Again, it's a personal decision," Rivera said. "A lot of guys gotta think through this and try and understand it and I hope that there's enough good examples out there to get guys to think it and sway them to do what they believe is right."
On Sunday, Washington held a vaccination drive for its unvaccinated players, and Rivera was pleased with the turnout he received.
But, he's still hoping to make it to the 100% vaccinated mark.
"We still have several guys that aren't and we'll see, we'll see what happens," Rivera said. "But hopefully we can continue as these guys get more and more comfortable with it, we can get it done."
With Washington crossing that 85% threshold, in-person activities should be a lot easier to conduct for Rivera and his staff.
"Well, as we crossed the threshold, [it is easier to navigate the building and meet in-person]," Rivera said. "They do ease up, and it means we can do a lot more things in-person and as groups, as long as the unvaccinated dudes do pay attention and stay separated. But for the core guys that are vaccinated, they can get a little bit tighter and be around each other a little bit more, so that's a huge plus."