In a letter to POTUS, Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote to President Joe Biden that the league is “committed to doing our part to ensure” that vaccines become widely accessible. To do this, the NFL has offered the use of all 30 of its stadiums across the nation as mass COVID-19 vaccination sites.
The offer was presented to President Joe Biden on Thursday (Feb. 4). Each team “will make its stadium available for mass vaccinations of the general public in coordination with local, state, and federal health officials,” said Goodell.
According to the letter, vaccine operations could be set up quickly “because many of our clubs have offered their facilities previously as COVID testing centers, as well as election sites over the past several months.” Prior to this letter, seven NFL stadiums were already being used to provide the vaccines.
Even though the NFL has 32 teams, there are only 30 stadiums because teams in New York and Los Angeles share the same stadium.
Other sports teams, including Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees, have also offered their facilities for vaccination sites. Last week, protesters temporarily shut down vaccination efforts at Dodger Stadium.
Some colleges have also made their stadiums available for use as vaccination sites, including the University of Michigan and the University of Kentucky. When reached for comment on Friday (Feb. 5), the NCAA said that such decisions are up to each college.
Meanwhile, vaccine operations are already active in NFL stadiums of the Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots.
In “gratitude for their heroic service and to highlight the importance of vaccinations,” the NFL is providing free tickets to Sunday’s Super Bowl in Tampa, Florida. The match will be between the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Kansas City Chiefs. Around 7,500 vaccinated health care workers are expected to receive these tickets.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, Biden’s chief medical adviser on the coronavirus pandemic, warned Super Bowl fans not to get together with friends to watch the game.
“Every time we have something like this, there always is a spike” in COVID-19 cases, warned Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
“Enjoy the game, watch it on television, but do it with the immediate members of your family, the people in your household,” he said. “As much fun as it is to get together in a big Super Bowl party, now is not the time to do that.”