The New England Patriots team plane is ferrying dozens of vaccinated health care workers to the Super Bowl on Sunday with a message on its side: “Get vaccinated.”
The Patriots posted a photo of the plane with a new decal on its side encouraging others to get vaccinated against Covid-19.
“When it’s your turn, take the shot. Get vaccinated,” the decal reads, alongside an image of a Band-Aid.
The plane also boasts its regular decals, including the “Patriots” team name in large font and the franchise’s six Super Bowl trophies on its tail.
The private plane, which in the spring brought 1.2 million masks from China to the US, is being used Sunday to shuttle 76 vaccinated health care workers to Super Bowl LV in Tampa, Florida. The NFL allowed 22,000 fans at the game, including 7,500 vaccinated health care workers.
The Patriots are treating 76 “frontline heroes” hailing from all six New England states to an all-expense paid trip to the game. The goal of the trip is to thank a representative group of “healthcare superheroes” and celebrate and spread the message of getting vaccinated, the team said.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft connected this plan with the use of the plane to transport needed PPE in the spring when the pandemic first began.
“Last April, when our plane returned with masks from China, we never could have imagined the devastation this pandemic would cause, nor could we have dreamed of the heroic stories and achievements that have come to be as a result, especially the dedication of healthcare workers on the front lines and the creation of safe and effective vaccines,” he said.
“Ten months later, it’s an honor for us to celebrate these healthcare workers by giving them a well-deserved break for a day and an opportunity to enjoy the Super Bowl, a reality that is only made possible because of the vaccines.”
In front of the plane on Sunday morning, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Patriots President Jonathan Kraft and team captain Matthew Slater praised the workers before their departure.
“When you think about some of those great Patriots slogans, ‘Do your job,’ ‘No days off,’ there’s probably no group over the course of this pandemic who’s demonstrated that more day after day after day than our health care workers,” Baker said.
The fans won’t be able to root for their beloved Patriots, who failed to make the playoffs this year. But they will get to watch favorite son Tom Brady, who left the Patriots last offseason and promptly led the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a title matchup against the defending champion Kansas City Chiefs.