GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — A Wisconsin health care organization has ended a nine-year partnership with Green Bay Packers star Aaron Rodgers after the quarterback detailed his reasoning for avoiding the three COVID-19 vaccinations endorsed by the NFL.
A statement posted on Twitter by Prevea Health said the company and Rodgers mutually agreed to end their partnership, effective Saturday. Prevea Health and Rodgers had been partners since 2012.
The statement said Prevea Health "remains deeply committed to protecting its patients, staff, providers and communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes encouraging and helping all eligible populations to become vaccinated against COVID-19 to prevent the virus from further significantly impacting lives and livelihoods."
The move comes a day after Rodgers told "The Pat McAfee Show" he had sought alternative treatments to COVID-19 vaccination because he is allergic to an ingredient in two of the FDA-approved shots. Rodgers, who turns 38 in December, did not say what ingredient he was allergic to, or how he knows he is allergic.
Rodgers has strongly questioned the NFL's COVID-19 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 Friday. "Health is not a one size fits all for everybody, and for me it involved a lot of study in the offseason."
The COVID-19 vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. were tested in tens of thousands of people and proven to be both safe and effective at dramatically reducing the risk of serious disease and death. The vaccines now have been given to more than 200 million Americans and that real-world use plus extra government safety tracking have made clear that serious side effects are extremely rare — and that any risk is far lower than the risks posed by COVID-19.
Rodgers, who has been tested daily as part of NFL protocols for unvaccinated players, found out he contracted COVID-19 on Wednesday. He can't rejoin the Packers for 10 days and will miss Sunday's game at Kansas City. He must have a negative test to return to the team on Nov. 13.
The reigning NFL MVP, whose endorsement deals include a starring role in commercials for insurance company State Farm, hinted that his stance on vaccination could have consequences when he described himself Friday as a victim of "cancel culture."
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