GS’ vaccination rate among the lowest in the Sun Belt

Of seven responding teams, GS has the least vaccinated players


photo credit: Georgia Southern Athletics

DJ Cadden, Sports Correspondent

In a report published by WTOC in Savannah, the Georgia Southern football team was confirmed to have the lowest vaccination rate in the Sun Belt Conference.

According to the report, seven teams commented on their vaccination, while Georgia State, Louisiana and Troy did not disclose their vaccination rate.

Of the six other teams that responded to WTOC, all had a vaccination rate of at least 75%. Louisiana-Monroe had the highest vaccination rate in the conference at 97% and Appalachian State had 90%. GS rounded up last place with a vaccination rate of just 74%.

According to the report by WTOC, the GS vaccination rate was at 64% on Friday, which means the team jumped 10% in just 24 hours. In addition, head coach Chad Lunsford confirmed that 100% of the GS coaching staff had received at least one dose of the vaccine.

When asked by The George-Anne if the team or conference had a cutoff for how many players must be available to play a game, the GS athletic department said no number had been set by either the conference or program.

The Georgia Southern athletic department released the following statement when contacted by The George-Anne:

“As of August 20, 2021, 74 percent of Georgia Southern football players have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccination. We continue to educate our student-athletes and staff on the importance of getting vaccinated, but it remains a personal choice for all and we support that. Dating back to the spring semester, Georgia Southern has been proactively providing educational information to our student-athletes and staff on the benefits of being vaccinated. Additionally, medical personnel have spoken to, and continue to speak to, all of our teams regarding the medical research behind the vaccine.”

Per NCAA guidance, all unvaccinated student-athletes will be tested weekly, and those who are vaccinated will not be subjected to weekly surveillance testing or contact tracing, unless they show symptoms.

“We understand that fully vaccinated teams give us the best chance to be successful this year and continue to strive for a 100 percent vaccination rate within the entire department.”