Assistant coaches from at least four NFL teams refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine are set to lose Tier 1 status if they don't receive their first dose by the end of next week, NFL Network's Tom Pelissero reported, per sources.
Losing Tier 1 status would ban these coaches from the field, meeting rooms and direct interactions with players, Pelissero added.
Although teams are being advised to consider restricting their access, the NFL allows unvaccinated individuals to maintain Tier 1/2 status if they provide a valid medical or religious reason. These latest developments leave most coaches with one of two choices: get vaccinated or spend the season in the office and off the field.
Vaccination rates among NFL players remain low compared to staff league-wide, but it's not mandatory for players, only Tier 1/2 staff, per Pelissero. As of now, this ruling allows an unvaccinated player to interact with a vaccinated coach but not vice versa.
Dr. Allen Sills, the NFL's chief medical officer, told clubs last month that players, coaches and staff who get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine need to get the first shot no later than the week of June 7 to achieve full vaccination status by the start of training camp in late July, Pelissero reported.
The NFL and NFLPA continue to negotiate all protocols.