Arthur Smith “very comfortable” with Falcons’ vaccination rate

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Falcons head coach Arthur Smith says he’s satisfied with the number of his players who have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Smith told reporters the team is “very comfortable with where we’re at” in terms of their vaccination rate, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“All we try to do is provide the information so guys can make their own personal choices and make everything available for them to educate themselves. Again, these are all personal choices,” Smith said.

Although the NFL has not finalized its COVID-19 protocols for the 2021 season, it is expected that teams with at least 85 percent of their players vaccinated will have loosened restrictions on full-team meetings, that vaccinated players will have more freedom to congregate together in team facilities than unvaccinated players, and that unvaccinated players will have to be tested daily while vaccinated players won’t.

Those rules could provide the teams with the most vaccinated players with a competitive advantage, so it’s understandable that some coaches have been urging their players to get the vaccine. Other coaches, however, are taking more of a hands-off approach and allowing each player to decide for himself.

The COVID-19 vaccine has proven safe and effective, and players who refuse to get it are taking a big chance with their own health, the health of those around them and their availability for the full season.