Bills quarterback Josh Allen has not decided yet whether he will get the COVID-19 vaccine before the 2021 season begins.
“I’m still debating that,” Allen said on the “10 Questions with Kyle Brandt” podcast, according to nyup.com. “I’m a big statistics and logical guy. So if the statistics show it’s the right thing for me to do, I’d do it. Again, I’d lean the other way too if that’s what it said. I haven’t been paying attention to it as much as maybe I should have.”
Allen, 24, reinforced he is taking safety measures.
The NFL reported 262 players tested positive for COVID-19 between Aug. 1, 2020 and Super Bowl 55, including starting quarterbacks who had to miss games such as the Ravens’ Lamar Jackson and Patriots’ Cam Newton. Daily testing stopped when players stopped reporting to the team facility.
“I’ve just been doing my thing and masking up when I’m going out,” Allen said, “and just staying close and hanging around family.”
The NFL’s stance, according to Chief Medical Officer Dr. Allen Sills’ comments last month, is to support the vaccination process, but the league is not planning to mandate player vaccinations before teams regroup.
“I think everybody should have that choice to do it or not to do it,” Josh Allen said. “You get in this tricky situation now where if you do mandate that that’s kind of going against what our constitution says and the freedom to kind of express yourself one way or the other. I think we’re in a time where that’s getting a lot harder to do. Everybody should have that choice.”
Ahead of the upcoming NFL Draft, the league relaxed its strict policies on masking and social distancing for team employees if everyone in the room is fully vaccinated. The plan is the same for players who are fully vaccinated. That is defined as receiving two doses of the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines and completing the requisite two-week post-shot period, or receiving the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine and completing the requisite two-week post-shot period, according to a league memo.
The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines tested at 95 and 94 percent effective in preventing symptomatic COVID-19, so it is unclear if Allen is waiting for statistics to become available on reactions and long-term side effects to the vaccine from the first waves of patients who received the shots.