With the science evolving rapidly around vaccines, boosters, the omicron variant, and other aspects of the pandemic, the NFL announced a new media policy today ahead of the postseason and Super Bowl.
With Wild Card weekend fast approaching, the league will require media members applying to cover postseason games in-person be fully vaccinated, including booster doses. There are a few limited health-related exceptions.
Here’s the league’s release:
On November 29, the CDC issued a study showing that the effectiveness of the approved COVID-19 vaccines may decrease over time and has recommended that all eligible vaccinated individuals over the age of 18 should receive a booster shot. As a result, all NFL league office staff as well as club Tier 1 and Tier 2 personnel who have previously been vaccinated and are eligible under the CDC guidelines, are mandated to receive a booster shot.
Effective on Wednesday, January 12, in accordance with all relevant local and state regulations, the requirement to obtain a booster shot will now be extended to media that apply for accreditation to cover the NFL playoffs and Super Bowl LVI, as well as provide on-site coverage in any form at team facilities.
Under the CDC’s recommendations:
- An individual that received their second Pfizer or Moderna shot to complete their primary vaccine series more than six months earlier should receive a booster shot;
- An individual that received their Johnson and Johnson shot more than two months earlier should receive a booster shot;
The following individuals are not subject to this requirement:
- An individual who is not eligible for a booster pursuant to the CDC definition; or
- An individual who has tested positive for COVID in the past 90 days; OR
- An individual who received monoclonal antibodies within the immediately preceding 90 days; OR
- An individual whose “S” antibody level on an antibody test administered via BRL at the club facility is 2500 or greater.
Any individual who is not currently subject to the requirement for boosters will be required to obtain the booster within 14 days of becoming eligible.
The Super Bowl usually means a wide variety of media on-site, including from outlets who might not usually be covering an NFL game in-person. Clearly the league is taking steps to try and preserve the postseason in the wake of omicron’s widespread transmission. Any sort of postseason issues would be difficult; last year, a delayed Super Bowl was a real possibility, but everything ended up going off as scheduled.
Considering the television revenue at stake, the league surely hopes this year goes the same way.