TAMPA, Fla. – Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Bruce Arians has not felt the need to bring in a specialist to talk to his players about the COVID-19 vaccine, which some players in the immediate world have expressed skepticism about in recent days.
While Washington Football coach Ron Rivera brought in Harvard immunologist Kizzmekia S. Corbett to speak with his players Tuesday night, Arians said Thursday: “I’m the specialist.”
He told the players: “If you want to return to normal, you need to be vaccinated.”
Arians said the Bucs are holding a vaccine drive for players and their families at the facility.
“There will be a long queue over there right now,” Arians said. “We were pretty short so far. Hopefully we have a pretty good line.”
Previous vaccine drives have also taken place at the facility for buses and support staff. The goal is to get 85% of the team vaccinated, which Arians feel they will be much closer to after the run.
“Everyone is tired of meeting out here and eating outside and doing all the things we had to do last year,” Arians said. “It’s still a personal choice, but I see no reason not to get vaccinated.”
Asked if any players expressed concern or skepticism, as Washington’s Montez Sweat did on Wednesday, Arians said: “I have not spoken to anyone who has resisted it. They are just too lazy to get one.”
Outside linebacker Shaq Barrett said he and his wife, Jordanna, both got the vaccine. Their four children are not old enough to qualify for the vaccine at this time, as the CDC currently recommends children ages 12 and older receive vaccines.
Barrett missed the season finale against the Atlanta Falcons because he was in close contact with a teammate who tested positive, despite never testing positive himself. Yet he was forced into quarantine for five days. His children were homeschooled in 2020 and did not have play dates with other children due to concerns about the virus.
“It is ‘for each their own.’ I recommend it, “Barrett said Thursday.” I do not know why people would not get it. But no matter what makes you comfortable, no matter what helps you sleep at night, you do. But I would like 85% of the team to be vaccinated. “