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NCAA Definition of 'Fully Vaccinated' Now Includes Natural Immunity

AP Photo/Michael Conroy

In an update to its Wuhan coronavirus guidance published on Friday, the NCAA announced that it would begin considering natural immunity gained through a COVID infection equal to being fully vaccinated for "tier 1 individuals" — coaches, players, officials, trainers, medical staff — as long as the infection occurred within 90 days.


The NCAA explains in its announcement: 

For purposes of the winter guidelines, the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group has developed a definition of "fully vaccinated" that considers both vaccination status and other immunity factors that may impact risks for Tier 1 individuals, including student-athletes and coaches. Those considered fully vaccinated include people:

  • Within two months of having completed the primary series of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine (one dose).
  • Within five months of having completed the primary series of the mRNA Pfizer vaccine, or within six months of having completed the primary series of the mRNA Moderna vaccine (two doses for both).
  • Who have received a booster vaccine if they are beyond two months of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine or beyond five or six months of the mRNA Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, respectively.

A person who has had a documented COVID-19 infection in the past 90 days is considered the equivalent of "fully vaccinated."

The NCAA says its latest guidance "was developed in consultation with the NCAA COVID-19 Medical Advisory Group, American Medical Society for Sports Medicine Working Group and Autonomy 5 Medical Advisory Group and takes into consideration available recommendations from the CDC." 


It seems the NCAA has filtered through the Biden administration's back and forth guidance that has drawn the ire of Americans — something Guy covered just before the NCAA's guidance was updated — and landed on a commonsense policy that recognizes the body's natural immune response to COVID in addition to induced immunity offered by vaccines. 

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