Arizona Cardinals reach 90% of players vaccinated for COVID-19, per report
The Arizona Cardinals have apparently made significant progress in vaccinating their players over the past few weeks.
As of July 16, the Cardinals had just passed the threshold of 50% of their players receiving a COVID-19 vaccination and were among the last four teams to surpass the halfway mark, according to The Associated Press.
On Thursday, less than two weeks later, NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Arizona had passed 90% of their players getting the vaccination and had a list of unvaccinated players that could be “counted on one hand.”
“I don’t want to get into exact percentages but we’ve made a lot of progress over the last week and I see that thing headed in the right direction,” Arizona head coach Kliff Kingsbury said Tuesday as training camp opened.
Among the Arizona coaching staff, Kingsbury said there was an ultimatum to get vaccinated.
“Yeah, if we wanted to be in the building, we had to be vaccinated,” Kingsbury said.
It’s unsurprising Arizona as an organization has pushed for vaccinations. Team owner Michael Bidwill spent five days in an intensive care unit after coming down with COVID-19, it was revealed at the start of last season.
“Take this seriously,” he told the Cardinals at a team meeting that was showed on the team’s mini-documentary series, Cardinals Flight Plan. “We all have to be committed, because this is going to be a wild season. So far it’s been a wild offseason.
“We’ve done everything we can do to give you all the tools, all the instruction, all the safe measures that we can take, so let’s take this seriously.”
Cardinals receiver DeAndre Hopkins is among players who have publicly questioned the safety of vaccines.
Last Thursday, he tweeted concerns about being pressured by the NFL to receive a vaccine, after NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell warned the 32 teams in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that no games would be rescheduled under such circumstances. Instead, forfeits could happen.
“As we learned last year, we can play a full season if we maintain a firm commitment to adhering to our health and safety protocols and to making needed adjustments in response to changing conditions,” Goodell said.
The league and players association have worked together to agree upon COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 season.
NFL-wide, 87.9% of players have already been vaccinated, the NFL said Thursday.