NFL Invites 7,500 Vaccinated Healthcare Workers To The Super Bowl

by Julie Scagell

The Super Bowl will be played in Tampa on Feb. 7

As the country continues to distribute and vaccinate against the coronavirus, the National Football League decided to treat thousands of healthcare workers who’d already received the vaccine to the Super Bowl this year.

The organization announced that 7,500 vaccinated healthcare workers will be among the 22,000 fans in attendance at Super Bowl LV next month, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said today. This will mean the stadium will be at about 30 percent capacity on game day.

“I am the son of a nurse and all of you have a very special place in my heart,” Goodell said during a surprise video conference with healthcare workers at Sarasota Memorial Hospital in Florida. “I’ve seen the work that you do. My mom used to talk about it all day. It’s just extraordinary work and and we owe you our ongoing gratitude.”

He continued, telling the excited and emotional group: “I want to personally invite each member of your team … to be our guest at the Super Bowl.” The NFL made the decision “following discussions with public health officials, including the CDC, the Florida Department of Health, and area hospitals and healthcare systems,” according to a press release.

Since the first vaccine was administered in the United States in mid-December, nearly 12.3 million doses have been given, out of 31.2 million doses distributed, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The total includes 1.6 million people who have received both doses.

While healthcare workers and nursing home residents and staff got first priority for the vaccination, eligibility has since widened. Some states have opened it to healthy people aged 65 and up and people with pre-existing conditions.

“These officials reviewed and provided feedback on the NFL’s comprehensive plans that will enable the league to host fans and the vaccinated healthcare workers in a safe and responsible way,” the statement added.

The NFL season, like many, has looked different this year. Attendance depended on the state. Dallas led the league with an average of 28,187 fans at its eight home games. Jacksonville and Tampa Bay were a close second, according to The New York Times. Thirteen of the 32 teams did not allow fans at any games as the pandemic raged on throughout the season. To date, COVID-19 has killed more than 410,000 according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Super Bowl LV is scheduled to take place at Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on Feb. 7. Either the Buffalo Bills or the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs will represent the AFC and either the Green Bay Packers or the Tampa Bay Bucs will represent the NFC on game day.

“These dedicated healthcare workers continue to put their own lives at risk to serve others, and we owe them our ongoing gratitude, we hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings,” Goodell said.

What a treat for those who have selflessly serves their communities and fought to save lives during the pandemic.