McDermott said he “applauded” everyone in the Bills building who received the COVID-19 vaccine, including general manager Brandon Beane and owners Terry and Kim Pegula. He also said the team was functioning at about “60%, 65%, 70% of normal” thanks to the number of people within the facility who were vaccinated.
Players and Bill staff have had internal conversations regarding the vaccine, but McDermott acknowledges the time for having those conversations is running out.
“It worries me, I am very frank. I am concerned about this and a lot of other things right now for our football team, ”he said. “And I think the timing is a bit on the line right now. Where the season is not upon us right now, but it will be at some point.
“But it’s something we’ve talked about and I don’t think the right word is trying to convince. I think the right word is to educate and raise awareness and then let people decide. It’s sort of two-fold, if you will, with health and safety and then what you need to do to do your job. I think those are the two sides of the range right now that need to be taken and seriously considered. “
Bills quarterback Josh Allen, who told NFL Network’s Kyle Brandt in April that he was unwilling to get the shot, refused to disclose his vaccination status on Tuesday. On Brandt’s podcast, Allen said, “If the stats show it’s the right thing for me to do, I would,” but that he would also “tip the other way” if that’s it. as the statistics showed.
A 2020 NFL MVP finalist Allen confirmed that Bills had internal conversations about the vaccine but wanted those conversations to be kept private.
“We let everyone make their own decisions,” he said.
The league reached out to Beane this month after hypothetically saying he would cut an unvaccinated player if that meant bills could hit a league-mandated minimum vaccination percentage in order to get back to normal procedure. The NFL informed Beane that he would not be allowed to cut a player based solely on his vaccine status.
The NFL also released a memo this month in response to the CDC’s announcement that fully vaccinated people no longer needed to wear masks or stay socially distant from each other. The league immediately incorporated CDC policy and lifted mask and social distancing restrictions at team facilities for fully vaccinated players and staff.
As it stands, Erie County, which owns and operates Highmark Stadium, plans to fully open the stadium only to vaccinated fans this season.