BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The college football season kicks off in less than 48 hours, and an Alabama doctor is warning fans that going into the stands this year is not a good idea.
“I would not advise anyone to go to a live game right now,” UAB Infectious Disease Expert Dr. Michael Saag said during a weekly COVID-19 update from the Medical Association of the State of Alabama.
Saag said he loves college football, but large crowds could halt progress of getting out of the pandemic.
“Half the people in those stands are going to be unvaccinated,” he said. “If we want to get back to life as normal where we can go to those things in a safer fashion, we need better control of the epidemic and the way to do that is to get vaccinated.”
This is something both Alabama and Auburn are pushing for.
“What we can control is advocating for the vaccine for our student athletes, advocating for our fanbase and advocating in our communities,” Alabama Director of Athletics Greg Byrne said on the Paul Finebaum Show.
Byrne said the team is 99.5 percent vaccinated. The athletics department is just over 94 percent.
On Wednesday, we heard from Tigers’ head coach Bryan Harsin for the first time since he tested positive for COVID-19 last week.
“I am not anti-vaccine and any narrative along those lines is misinformed,” Harsin said. “I fully support the choice for anyone to vaccinate. I also support getting reliable data.”
The Auburn Plainsman reports Auburn has still not reached the SEC’s 85 percent threshold of vaccinated teammates.
“For months now our staff has done a great job going above and beyond in being proactive in providing reliable information,” Harsin said.
Both Auburn and Alabama do not have vaccine requirements for fans currently. Until the pandemic gets under control, Saag said it’s best to stay away from big crowds.