Mississippi coach (and former Raiders coach) Lane Kiffin runs that first program, college or pro, that got to a 100-percent vaccination rate. Kiffin is now the latest example that vaccination alone won’t keep COVID away from a football team.
Kiffin has announced that the has a breakthrough case of COVID, and that he won’t be accompanying the Ole Miss team to Atlanta for Monday’s season opener against Louisville.
“I am grateful to be vaccinated and experiencing only mild symptoms,” Kiffin said. “So much so, I debated being tested, but I’m relieved that I did. I’m proud of our program’s commitment to vaccination, and as a result, there are currently no other cases to report or team members expected to miss the game. We will continue to monitor our team closely and take responsible measures if any symptoms arise.”
Kiffin’s situation underscores the reality that vaccination alone isn’t enough to keep COVID out of a locker room. It’s a reminder for all of us that, as images of full stadiums lure us into thinking that life has returned to normal, it hasn’t. Unvaccinated or vaccinated, players and coaches will get COVID this year, and they will miss games.
Still, it’s much better for all players and coaches to be vaccinated. They’re less likely to get it, they’re less likely to be hospitalized because of it, and they’re far less likely to die from it. For the NFL, the vaccinated also aren’t tested every single day; for the unvaccinated, even an asymptomatic case will result in a mandatory 10-day absence that could begin just hours before the start of a big game.