Jan 22, 2022 - Sports

NFL stops daily COVID testing for unvaccinated players

The NFL logo is pictured during the game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on January 09, 2022 in Detroit, Michigan.
The NFL logo during the game between the Detroit Lions and Green Bay Packers at Ford Field on Jan. 9. Photo: Nic Antaya/Getty Images

The National Football League said in a memo Friday that unvaccinated players on the remaining eight teams left in the playoffs no longer need to take daily COVID-19 tests.

Driving the news: COVID-19 protocols were updated "to eliminate the distinction between vaccinated and unvaccinated players to determine testing cadence," according to the memo that was obtained by Axios.

  • The updated guidance applies to approximately a dozen unvaccinated players, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy said.
  • The remaining players are on testing holiday, which refers to an individual who tests positive and doesn't need to take a COVID-19 test for 90 days.
  • All players and tiered staff will be subject to "targeted surveillance testing" and "enhanced symptom screening," per the memo.

The big picture: It's the NFL's latest change to its coronavirus protocols after the league announced in December that coaches, team personnel and front office staff in Tier 1 and 2 were required to receive COVID-19 booster shots.

What they're saying: "This comprehensive, symptom-based approach to testing, reflects our recent experience with the Omicron variant and conforms to current public health recommendations and best practices employed in health care," McCarthy said.

  • The guidance "offers the best opportunity for identifying and treating cases promptly and avoiding spread within the facility," he added.

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