The NFL will invite about 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to this year’s Super Bowl in Tampa as guests in recognition of their work fighting the coronavirus, the league announced Friday.

All 32 teams will pick vaccinated health care workers — the majority of whom will come from hospitals and health care systems in the Tampa and central Florida area — to attend the Feb. 7 game at Raymond James Stadium. Those selected will receive free tickets.

“These dedicated health care workers continue to out their lives at risk to serve others and we owe them our ongoing gratitude,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We hope in a small way that this initiative will inspire our country and recognize these true American heroes. This is also an opportunity to promote the importance of vaccination and appropriate health practices, including wearing masks in public settings.”

The league said it will also recognize health care heroes around the country through a variety of special moments both in the stadium and during the CBS broadcast.

The announcement follows conversations between the league and Florida and local public health officials on anti-coronavirus protocols at the game.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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