With COVID-19 infection rates rising, the NBA is beginning its second recommendation of preventive measures, namely booster shots.
According to reports, the league sent a memo on Friday stressing the urgency for getting the COVID-19 booster shot. The league advised all players and coaches in the message not to wait before receiving the booster dose.
Sources: The NBA has informed teams that the league and NBPA is recommending that all players, coaches and Tier 1 personnel receive a booster vaccine dose “as soon as possible” in light of the current coronavirus situation and increasing cases.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 12, 2021
The memo said the booster shots should be received by players and coaches “as soon as possible, particularly in light of the current coronavirus situation and increasing cases.”
Recently, vaccinated Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid tested positive for COVID-19. Embiid missed his fourth game in a row, and the 76ers have lost all four games without their big man.
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) November 8, 2021
“He’s not doing great; he’s struggling,” said Rivers after they lost to the New York Knicks on Nov. 8. “Very similar to Tobias, so that’s all I can tell you. It’s a concern, obviously, because. what is it, four guys now?” Rivers added. “And a staff member. It clearly is a concern.”
Embiid is not alone, as teammate Tobias Harris had COVID-19 and just returned for the Sixers. A few days later, Sixers guard Isaiah Joe entered COVD-19 protocol along with guard Matisse Thybulle one day after him.
“I don’t think many people understand that you can still catch COVID-19 with the vaccine,” Harris said at the postgame press conference after the Sixers’ loss to the Raptors last Thursday.
Tobias Harris says he “couldn’t even really leave the bed” for the first few days after testing positive for COVID-19.
He says he felt “all right” in his return tonight but was fatigued at times.
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) November 12, 2021
“I don’t think a lot of people knew that. People are writing me: ‘How do you have the vaccine?’ I’m like, ‘I can’t even talk to you right now.’ But I think a lot of people didn’t understand that. And truth be told, I figured out too that you can still have bad symptoms with the vaccine as well.”
Additional players have tested positive around the league. San Antonio Spurs players Jakob Poeltl and Jock Lansdale, Cleveland Cavaliers’ Lauri Markkanen and Kevin Love, and Chicago’s Nikola Vucevic are all in COVID-19 protocol.
However, per the league’s reports, 97 percent of its players are vaccinated.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, all vaccinated people face the possibility of COVID-19 through breakthrough infections. People living in an area with substantial or high transmission of COVID-19 or who are immunocompromised may not always build adequate levels of protection after an initial two-dose primary mRNA COVID-19 vaccine series.
Overall, the CDC recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional primary dose of vaccine.
Additionally, the National Basketball Players Association also recommends that booster shots be received by Dec. 1.
With most NBA markets estimated to have “high” or “substantial,” transmission rates, the NBPA is taking a position about getting the booster shot. The NBPA position is a departure from its original stance of neutrality concerning getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
Currently, the most notable holdout to the COVID-19 vaccination is Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving. Before the season started, Golden State Warriors small forward Andrew Wiggins attempted to receive a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccination.
However, he was denied and received the shot. Both Wiggins and Irving live in markets where there is an indoor COVID-19 vaccine mandate for entertainment venues.