Saying he wanted to clarify a comment about vaccinations he made last week, New England head coach Bill Belichick on Monday doubled down on his opinion that COVID-19 vaccinations don’t “solve all our problems.”
Belichick reiterated that “no player has been released or kept because of their vaccination status,” a reference to the release of quarterback Cam Newton last week.
But he didn’t back off his opinion about vaccinations in general, despite pushback from the NFL late last week.
“My comment relative to the vaccinations, really the way I feel is, that’s an individual decision for each person to make,” Belichick said Monday. “As a team, we’re better off if everyone is vaccinated and that being said, even if everyone is vaccinated, that doesn’t solve all our problems as we’ve seen, multiple players, head coaches, assistant coaches throughout the league have tested positive for COVID even after they have been vaccinated.”
His comments echo the statement he made last week after Newton was released.
“There’ve been a number of, quite a high number I would say, of players who have had the virus who have been vaccinated, so your implication that vaccination solves every problem, I would say that has not been substantiated based on what’s happened in training camp (throughout the NFL) this year.”
NFL chief medical officer Allen Sills pushed back on that notion last Friday.
“We released our data ... from the first three weeks of August, and that data has consistently shown higher rates of infection in unvaccinated players than in vaccinated players,” Sills said.
“We know that vaccines are working,” Sills said. “What we are seeing are some vaccinated people who test positive. But their illness tends to be very short and very mild, and that’s exactly what the vaccines were designed to do.”