With just eight teams remaining in postseason contention, the NFL and NFL Players Association have agreed to eliminate daily COVID-19 testing for unvaccinated players.
The league and union had already agreed in the latter part of December to eliminate weekly testing for vaccinated individuals, while instead only testing individuals who reported symptoms, or those who were a part of targeted surveillance testing. But unvaccinated players continued to fall under a different distinction and had to abide by daily testing protocol as they had all season.
Now, however, only a dozen players who have not received the vaccine would have been subject to daily testing, according to a person familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because league officials had not commented publicly on the matter.
The other remaining non-vaccinated players are exempt from testing because they had tested positive for COVID-19 within the last 90 days.
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In a statement issued to the eight remaining teams, the NFL said that “Following consultation with our jointly retained infectious disease experts, the NFL and NFL Players Association have updated the NFL-NFLPA COVID-19 Protocols to eliminate the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players to determine testing cadence. Effective immediately, all players and tiered staff will be subject to strategic and targeted testing.”
The breakdown of symptom screening and targeted spot testing followed.
Players and family members still are allowed to request more frequent testing, under league protocols. Those tests can either be administered at team facilities, or take-home tests also remain available to those players and staff members.