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Head coach Nick Saban of the Alabama Crimson Tide speaks to his team during the CFP National Championship on Jan. 11, 2021. Photo: Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

Nearly 90% of the University of Alabama's football team has been vaccinated for COVID-19, head coach Nick Saban said at a press conference Wednesday.

Why it matters: The high percentage of vaccinated players on the team stands in contrast to the overall low vaccination rates in Alabama, where only 42.4% of people over the age of 18 have been fully vaccinated, according to the New York Times.

  • On Monday, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said six of the 14 football teams in the conference had reached the 80% COVID-19 vaccination threshold.

What they're saying: "I think there are a couple of things to consider: first of all, you have a personal decision, which comes down to risk. Risk of COVID, the relative risk of the vaccine," Saban said of the players' decision to be vaccinated.

  • "On the other hand, you also have a competitive decision to make because you're going to be a part of a team," he added, citing NC State's forfeiting of the College World Series semifinals due to a COVID outbreak on the team.

Go deeper ... Axios-Ipsos poll: Convincing the unvaccinated

Go deeper

Updated Oct 28, 2021 - Health

NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

The president of New York City's firefighters' union told reporters Wednesday that he's advised unvaccinated members to ignore Mayor Bill de Blasio's COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers, per Reuters.

Why it matters: Under De Blasio's order that's due to take effect Friday, unvaccinated city employees would be placed on unpaid leave. But Uniformed Firefighters Association head Andrew Ansbro said he told members that "if they choose to remain unvaccinated, they must still report for duty," according to Reuters.

Updated Oct 28, 2021 - Politics & Policy

DeSantis sues Biden administration over contractor vaccine mandate

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Photo: Paul Hennessy/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday announced a lawsuit against the Biden administration's order requiring federal contractors to be vaccinated against the coronavirus no later than Dec. 8.

Why it matters: This is the Republican governor's latest attempt to undermine federal vaccine requirements, with the lawsuit alleging that such measures are a "radical intrusion on the personal autonomy" of U.S. workers.

Oct 28, 2021 - Health

Study: Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization

A COVID-19 intensive care unit in Rio de Janeiro in May. Photo: Fabio Teixeira/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The readily available antidepressant fluvoxamine significantly reduced COVID-related hospitalizations, according to a large study published Wednesday.

Why it matters: The clinical trial suggests that a cheap, readily available drug could dramatically reduce serious illness and death when prescribed early.