Fauci Supports NFL’s Tough New COVID Policy

FRIDAY, July 23, 2021 (HealthDay News) — COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated NFL players could result in forfeited games and loss of pay, the league announced Thursday.

The policy sends a strong message about COVID-19 vaccines and is likely to be followed by others in the United States, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, told CBS News.

The NFL has pushed players to get vaccinated, but only 75% have received at least one dose. Any team that causes a game to be canceled will be responsible for financial losses and players on both teams won’t get paid, warned a memo from league commissioner Roger Goodell.

“The NFL is sending a very strong signal that it’s very important to get vaccinated,” Fauci told CBS News. “If you want to play football and you want to do it in a way that you feel unrestricted and not worry about any penalties, you just get vaccinated, because they’re saying that if unvaccinated people get infected, there are going to be consequences.”

He said he expects others to take similar action as U.S. vaccination rates stall and COVID-19 cases among unvaccinated people spike.

“I think that gives them the impetus to do the same sort of thing. And I think you’re going to be seeing that there will be local mandates, be they from colleges and universities or places of business, that there will be pressures for people to get vaccinated,” Fauci told CBS News.

Fauci added that breakthrough cases among the vaccinated are not a signal that the vaccines are failing because they are still preventing serious illness.

“The efficacy, as is the case here, is really based on whether you prevent clinically recognizable disease,” he said. “Most of the time you’re dealing with either asymptomatic infection or mildly symptomatic. The vaccine is still very protective against severe disease…”

“If you look at the number of people among those who are hospitalized, what percentage of those are unvaccinated? It’s about 95%,” he added. “Among people who die from COVID-19, what percent are unvaccinated? That’s about 99.5%, whereas the vaccinated people occupy a very small fraction of that group.”

More information

Visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more on COVID vaccines.