The state with the lowest vaccination rate in the United States has college football’s first known team to be 100 percent vaccinated.
Ole Miss head coach Lane Kiffin told ESPN’s Chris Low on Sunday that every player, coach and staff member on the team has been vaccinated, thanks to a program-wide push before the season.
Kiffin reportedly urged assistant coaches in each position room to push their players to get vaccinated. He had nothing but praise for the effort on Twitter after revealing the results.
The Ole Miss program had reportedly been far from 100 percent vaccinated at the start of the summer, but made quick progress, especially with the threat of a forfeited game due to a COVID-19 outbreak hanging over their heads. SEC commissioner Greg Sankey indicated at SEC media days that schools would face a forfeit if they cannot field a healthy team.
That was apparently a strong motivating factor:
“Nobody wants to be in a position to forfeit games,” Kiffin said.
Sankey additionally revealed that six of the SEC’s 14 teams had reached at least 80 percent vaccination. Per ESPN, Georgia hit the 85 percent mark last month while Nick Saban estimated Alabama to be close to 90 percent. Arkansas and LSU are also reportedly among the 80 percent vaccinated group.
Kiffin’s achievement in reaching 100 percent comes in the state where vaccines are struggling the most. Per the Mayo Clinic’s data, 41.6 percent of the Mississippi state population has received at least one dose, which ranks last among the 50 states.