The NFL reportedly sent a memo out to its eight teams remaining in the divisional round which included a notable change to the league’s health and safety protocols.
According to NFL Media’s Tom Pelissero, the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players have been eliminated in regards to COVID-19 regulations, with players no longer subjected to daily testing going forward.
The update is based on data observed last month, with medical professionals from both the NFL and its players association comfortable with changes.
Here’s what Pelissero shared about the memo via Twitter thread on Friday night:
The NFL just sent a memo to the remaining playoff clubs with a significant update to COVID testing cadence — eliminating the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players, who will no longer be subject to daily testing, per sources.
The change is based on info gathered the past month on the Omicron variant and was approved by the NFLPA. All players and tiered staff will be subject to enhanced symptom screening, symptom-based testing and targeted surveillance testing.
NFL and NFLPA medical experts are seeing the Omicron wave receding, targeted testing is working and no complications with new 5-day return rule. Also, they’re not seeing unvaccinated people shedding virus longer as with previous variants. So all sides comfortable with this shift.
Of all the unvaccinated players still on playoff teams, only about a dozen haven’t had COVID already, per source. So this change affects a small number of people.
In short: Sick people still get tested. Healthy people don’t.
This is a drastic change from where things started this season, with the NFL imposing strict restrictions on players who are unvaccinated against COVID-19. But they’ve been fluid with updates as the pandemic continues on, and appear to be leading professional sports leagues out of the pandemic.