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Washington Football Team’s vaccination rate improves to 84 percent

The Washington Football Team has improved its vaccination rate significantly, but still trails the NFL average. (John McDonnell/The Washington Post)
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After a week of pleading and encouraging his players to be vaccinated for the coronavirus, Coach Ron Rivera expressed optimism that his Washington Football Team was “trending up.”

He was right. As of Monday morning, the team had 84 percent of its players at least partially vaccinated, a person with knowledge of the situation said, a significant increase from its NFL-low 60 percent the week before.

Of the 84 percent, 50.5 percent are fully vaccinated, meaning at least 14 days have passed since their second dose of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or the single dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The NFL also considers players who have had covid-19 fully vaccinated 14 days after having received one vaccine dose.

Washington’s vaccination rate was the sixth lowest among the 32 NFL teams, as of Monday morning.

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The overall rate of NFL players who are at least partially vaccinated hit 90 percent Tuesday, according to NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy. That rate is well above the national average of 70 percent among adults, a threshold that was reached Monday.

The league has not mandated immunization, but it has incentivized it by loosening restrictions for those who are vaccinated.

Washington has been among the teams at the center of the vaccination discussion in part because of Rivera’s health. Last season he underwent treatment for squamous cell carcinoma and is now immunocompromised, putting him at higher risk for covid-19.

Over the past week, he has said he’s “beyond frustrated” by players’ hesitance to get the vaccine and has talked to many individually about it. Although he’s qualified his comments by saying it’s a “personal decision,” he also has stressed the potential disadvantages the team could face if there’s an outbreak.

USA Today first reported Washington’s latest vaccination rate.

Washington had seven players on its covid-19/reserve list Sunday but has since cut that number to four. Offensive tackle Cornelius Lucas, defensive tackle Matt Ioannidis and cornerback Chris Miller were activated Tuesday.