President Biden plans to accept Roger Goodell's offer to use NFL stadiums for mass vaccination sites

President Joe Biden in interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
President Joe Biden in interview with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell.
Screenshot: CBS News

Starting tomorrow, all NFL stadiums will sit empty through the winter, spring, and summer. Why not use these large, mostly outdoor, venues for the public good?

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In a Super Bowl pregame interview with CBS, President Joe Biden said he would like to use all 30 NFL stadiums as mass vaccination sites.

In an exchange with CBS News’ Norah O’Donnell, Biden said he, “got a call through commissioner [Roger] Goodell saying we could have all 32 NFL stadiums available for mass vaccinations.” There are, of course, only 30 NFL stadiums because the Jets and Giants share the same turf, as do the Rams and Chargers. But that’s besides the point.

“Are you going to use them? NFL stadiums to vaccinate?” O’Donnell asked.

“Absolutely we will,” Biden responded. “I mean, let me put it this way, I’m going to tell my team they’re available and I believe we’ll use them.”

Here’s the entire segment from CBS.

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Earlier in the interview, O’Donnell pressed Biden on the vaccine rollout noting that “at the current rate of 1.3 million doses per day, it’s going to take almost a year to get [to herd immunity, approximately 75 percent of Americans vaccinated].

“Can we wait that long?” asked O’Donnell.

“No, we can’t,” said Biden, hence the reason to speed up the process and find spaces to inoculate thousands of Americans a day.

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Seven NFL teams; Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Houston Texans, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots, already host vaccination sites at their stadiums, and more pro sports teams are offering their venues up as well. On Friday, Yankee Stadium began vaccinating Bronx residents.

In the letter to Biden obtained by the AP, Goodell said football stadiums would be a good place to vaccinate because many have served as testing centers and election sites.

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“We look forward to further discussion with your administration as well as your partners in state and local governments to advance this effort,” Goodell wrote.