(AP) — Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers said Friday he sought alternative treatments instead of the NFL-endorsed COVID-19 vaccinations because of an allergy he has to ingredients in two of the FDA-approved shots.
Speaking on SiriusXM’s “Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers said: “I’m not an anti-vax, flat-earther. I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines. I found a long-term immunization protocol to protect myself and I’m very proud of the research that went into that.”
Rodgers, who has been tested daily as part of NFL protocols for the unvaccinated, came up positive for the coronavirus on Wednesday. He said he didn’t feel well on Thursday but was much better on Friday.
He can’t rejoin the Packers for 10 days, missing Sunday’s game at Kansas City. Rodgers must have a negative test to return to the team on Nov. 13.
Rodgers noted that on the CDC’s website, “it says should you have an allergy to any of the ingredients, you should not get one of the mRNA vaccines. So those two (Moderna and Pfizer) were out already.”
He said with some of the public issues involving the Johnson & Johnson vaccine — clotting issues and his “hearing of multiple people who had had adverse events around getting the J&J … the J&J shot was not even an option at that point.”
His research led him to a treatment he did not detail, and he said the NFL was aware of the treatment protocol he was using, which took “multiple months.”
“The league was fully aware of it upon my return to the Packers (in August),” Rodgers said. “It was at that point that I petitioned them to accept my immunization under their vaccination protocol.”
That petition and a subsequent appeal were denied by the NFL, players’ union and independent infectious disease consultants.
“And I also said, how come there’s no exemption for medical exemptions, religious exemptions, pre-existing conditions?,” Rodgers added. “And they basically said those are all basically exempted but you would be put in the non-vaccinated category.”
The league did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Rodgers also told McAfee he has concerns about potential fertility issues had he taken one of the vaccinations.
Many scientists, including three doctors who specialize in reproductive health vouched for the safety of vaccinations for couples who want to have a baby and urged people to seek out their doctors or nurse practitioners with any questions. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and obstetrician groups also recommend COVID-19 vaccines for pregnant individuals.
Dr. Stephanie Broadwell of Sanford Health Fargo, Dr. Stephanie Foughty of Altru Health Devils Lake and Dr. Ana Tobiaz of Sanford Health Bismarck said at a virtual North Dakota town hall in July to get the vaccine.
“I can understand that people are scared, people are nervous,” Broadwell said. “I think sometimes there can be information that can be helpful and some that can be somewhat misleading. I think it’s just really hard to digest all the information that is out there and stories that are filtering through that maybe even come from trusted sources.”
Rodgers strongly questioned the NFL’s protocols, along with any organization forcing health requirements on individuals.
“I believe strongly in bodily autonomy and the ability to make choices for your body, not to have to acquiesce to some woke culture or crazed group of individuals who say you have to do something,” he said. “Health is not a one-size fits all for everybody, and for me it involved a lot of study in the offseason.
“If you weren’t in the vaccinated category you were in a different category which involved some draconian measures and protocols you would have to adhere (to), which in my opinion were not based on science and were more based in a shame-based environment to try and get as many guys to get vaccinated as possible, so that the league looks better to the rest of the world. That was the focus of these protocols …”
The NFL coronavirus protocols were developed in conjunction with CDC guidelines and independent infectious disease experts.