Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce was hesitant about getting the COVID-19 vaccine at first. Now he's getting vaccinated for the safety of his family and has joined Walgreens for its "This Is Our Shot" campaign encouraging people to get vaccinated.
"I love being around family, (so) it was just kind of a family decision that if everybody got the vaccine, we would be able to be around each other safely and comfortably. So that was the biggest thing — it was huge for family," Kelce said, via Sam McDowell at the Kansas City Star.
“I was definitely hesitant, but it’s only here to help us, and I’m here to just spread the word to try and encourage everybody to get it.”
Coach Andy Reid told the Star the Chiefs rank among the best in the NFL for percentage of players vaccinated. The league and players association are not releasing numbers.
Kelce: Glad everything's 'going to get back to normal'
The NFL released its updated COVID-19 protocols last week and vaccinated players can go about work and life as they normally would in 2021. They don't need daily testing, won't have to wear masks or practice social distancing, and don't have to quarantine if they're exposed to the coronavirus.
Kelce, 31, told the Star for him it was about being safe, comfortable and returning to normalcy.
“I think what last year taught us was we were very fortunate to be able to get out and about and go to work and have these daily lives that we were taking for granted — at least I know I did,” Kelce said. “I was just fortunate to be able to still go to work, even if I was testing every single day for six months straight (or) sitting in Kansas City, not really being able to go anywhere.
“I’m just glad that everything’s going to get back to normal here. I think this year is going to be absolutely nuts. I can already feel everybody getting back out in the community and the electricity the city’s bringing. Just being able to get back around each other, and I think this vaccine is only going to help make everybody safer and more comfortable to get back to daily life.”
Those who are not vaccinated will have restrictions, such as not being able to eat with teammates at lunch because of social distancing and being unable to leave the hotel while on the road.
It has created a stir for some NFL players, including the Buffalo Bills' Cole Beasley.
Vaccinations in the U.S.
The vaccination rate has stagnated in recent weeks. Per the New York Times, 45 percent of all groups in the United States are vaccinated as of Friday and 55 percent of adults 18 and older are fully vaccinated. In Missouri, 37.9 percent of the entire population is fully vaccinated, per the Times.
Kelce's inclusion in the campaign and speaking out about his changing stance on receiving it could go a long way in getting more people, particularly Chiefs fans, vaccinated as the world continues to fight COVID-19.
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