Last week, Judy Battista (NFL Network) reported there were 14 teams to reach the 85 percent threshold for COVID-19 vaccination rate. And if Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is accurate with his assessment, his team is either a part of that group or will add another to the party:
Bears GM Ryan Pace on COVID vaccinations: "We feel good about that 85 percent number."
— Mark Grote (@markgrotesports) July 27, 2021
#Bears GM Ryan Pace said he believes team has reached 85 percent vaccination rate.
— Larry Mayer (@LarryMayer) July 27, 2021
Bears GM Ryan Pace says he believes they’re already at 85% (or more) vaccination rate among the players.
— Kevin Fishbain (@kfishbain) July 27, 2021
Alright. So not only does Pace feel good about his team getting to the 85 percent vaccination rate, the Bears could possibly be above that number.
Considering that the NFL is incentivizing the heck out of getting the COVID-19 vaccination for players, and that restrictions will be loosened on teams who reach 85 percent vaccination rate, this is welcome news. From a purely football perspective, getting the vaccine is a step closer to a more normal football season. During Tuesday’s press conference, Head Coach Matt Nagy made it a point to underscore how more players getting vaccination means fewer inconveniences from a football standpoint. Whether that is helping drive these numbers is unknown, but I can’t imagine players wanting to go through last year’s processes over and over again.
In the end, I hope the Bears are part of a growing trend of teams getting the vaccine as part of a dual-front battle in which their football lives are better, as well as the health/safety/well-being of themselves and those they are around.