BOSTON (CBS) — Before taking any questions about New England’s Week 1 tilt against the Miami Dolphins, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick started his Monday morning Zoom call with reporters by clarifying some comments that he made about the COVID-19 vaccine.

Last week, Belichick vehemently denied that Cam Newton’s vaccination status played into the quarterback’s release from the team. In doing so, he cast some doubt on the effectiveness of the vaccine.

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“The number of players and coaches and staff members that have been infected by COVID in this training camp who have been vaccinated is a pretty high number,” Belichick said last Wednesday. “So I wouldn’t lose sight of that.

“Throughout the league there have been a number of — quite a high number, I would say — of players who have had the virus who have been vaccinated,” Belichick added. “So your implication that vaccination solves every problem, it’s just not really … I would say that has not been substantiated, based on what has happened in training camp this year. That’s all.”

On Monday, Belichick made it clear that it is in the team’s best interest to have everyone receive the vaccination.

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“My comment relative to vaccinations, or really the way that I feel, is that is an individual decision for each person to make,” Belichick said. “As a team, we’re better off if everyone is vaccinated. That being said, even if everyone is vaccinated, that doesn’t solve everyone’s problems, as we’ve seen multiple players and coaches test positive for COVID even after they’ve been vaccinated. It’s still incumbent on us to be vigilant in, really, our daily hygiene and decision making for the health and safety of us each of us individually and of our team.

“We’ll continue to follow league protocols, as we always do, but that is not a factor in any player’s release or non-release on the team,” Belichick concluded.

Belichick’s comments from last week forced NFL Chief Medical Officer Dr. Alan Sills to come out on Friday and comment that, while there have been breakthrough cases in the NFL and around the country, the vaccines are doing their job.

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“We know that vaccines are working,” Dr. Sills told NFL Media’s Judy Battista. “What we are seeing are some vaccinated people testing positive, but their illness tends to be very short and very mild. And that’s what the vaccines were designed to do. They were designed to prevent serious illness, hospitalization and death. They’re doing a terrific job of that so far.”

CBSBoston.com Staff