The Broncos will provide COVID-19 vaccinations for players, staff and their families starting April 21, a source confirmed to The Gazette. The vaccine, which will be Pfizer and administered by UCHealth, will be voluntary for players and mandatory for tier one and two staff.
Led by Vice President of Strategic Initiatives Brittany Bowlen, this has been in the works for weeks as the NFL has encouraged players to get vaccinated and asked for teams to organize opportunities for players and staff to receive the vaccine. The Broncos are the first organization to coordinate such an event and will have Dr. Michelle Barron, an infectious diseases expert at UCHealth and the CU School of Medicine, lead a virtual educational seminar for the entire organization Friday.
This news comes a day after the Broncos players released a statement saying they would not be participating in voluntary offseason workouts due to the ongoing pandemic. It also comes the same day the league announced its full offseason schedule, which starts Monday with voluntary off-field workouts.
Now, with the vaccine being given to the players and staff, this could impact how the team approaches the offseason schedule. The first phase takes place from Monday to May 14 and includes mostly conditioning and no on-field drills or work with coaches.
If players take the first dose of the vaccine April 21, they will receive the second dose May 13, meaning they would be fully vaccinated by the second phase which starts May 17 and includes on-field drills and a rookie minicamp. They'd also be ready for the third phase, May 24 to June 18, which consists of 10 days of OTAs and a mandatory minicamp — considered the most beneficial time period of the NFL offseason.
The decision to skip voluntary workouts this offseason was not unanimous by the players and now with an opportunity to get the vaccine from the team, it wouldn't be a surprise if some players change their mind on attending workouts and practices this spring and summer.