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‘There’s consequences to not being vaccinated’

'There's consequences to not being vaccinated'

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Indianapolis Colts general manager Chris Ballard defended COVID-19 vaccines Wednesday, saying “There’s consequences to not being vaccinated.”

Ballard was asked about vaccines during a press conference as quarterback Carson Wentz and three other players remain unavailable due to league protocols.

“Do I think everybody should be vaccinated? Absolutely. I’m for the vaccine. (Coach) Frank (Reich) is for the vaccine. We have a lot of guys on our team who are for the vaccine. Is it 100 per cent perfect? No. But it’s a good thing,” Ballard said, according to ESPN.

“It can help you from ending up in the hospital in a critical situation. And it helps stop some of the spread and those are positive things. But for the guys who have chosen to not get vaccinated, they still understand they’re still part of this team, it’s their decision, but they’re still part of our team and they have to take care of the team.”

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The Colts have had nine players appear on the COVID-19 list since camp opened. Wentz and fellow starters left tackle Eric Fisher, centre Ryan Kelly and receiver Zach Pascal were still on the list as of Wednesday.

While it has not been publicly disclosed whether any of those four players have been vaccinated, Wentz, Kelly and Pascal are currently away from the team for five days as they were deemed to be a close contact to a staff member who had tested positive for the coronavirus — a restriction that only applies to unvaccinated people under the league’s updated restrictions. Fisher was already unavailable as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury.

Reich, who also tested positive during camp but is fully vaccinated, echoed his GM’s message about the impact unvaccinated players can have on the team’s competitive advantage.

“It’s an individual decision but it does have consequences and ramifications for the team, and that’s where it makes it so complex,” Reich said, according to The Associated Press.

Reich recently estimated, according to The AP, that 75 per cent of the players on the team had received at least one vaccine shot. Ballard declined to give a specific number when asked about to provide an update after trimming the roster to 53 players Tuesday.

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“Look, I can beat my head against the wall,” Ballard said. “I can go in there and raise all kinds of hell and go off. That’s not how we roll. I believe in our guys. I believe in what they stand for and I’ll stand by them. We’ll continue to work on the vaccinations. It’s not like we’re done educating … But they understand they have to take care of the protocols at hand and they have to live by them. And we’ll do that at the best of the ability we can do it.”

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