The NBA was able to navigate throughout the vast majority of the 2020-21 season without the COVID-19 vaccines being made available to players.
Despite this, arenas started to fill up towards the end of the regular season and heading into the playoffs. Now that the vaccines are available to every American 12 years or older, the expectation is that a high number of players will have received shots once the 2021-22 campaign opens.
According to this note from Shams Charania of The Athletic, 90% of NBA players are currently fully vaccinated with the vaccination rate itself rising as training camps get going within the next few days.
This represents some tremendous news for commissioner Adam Silver and Co., especially given that the Delta variant is running roughshod through the unvaccinated population in the United States.
2021-22 NBA season and COVID-19 pandemic
It was noted earlier in September that the NBA has set strict COVID-19 testing protocols for non-vaccinated players.
“The NBA has informed teams that it anticipates that fully vaccinated players and team personnel will not be required to undergo regular coronavirus testing during 2021-22 season. Non-fully vaccinated players/personnel will undergo regular testing,” the report read.
Non-vaccinated players will have to test negative on game day twice if they want to suit up. Vaccinated players will no longer have to undergo regular testing.
Oddly enough, COVID-19 vaccines have been a been a divisive subject of conversation around the United States since they become readily available. This is also going to be the case when it comes to the small percentage of NBA players who are not vaccinated.
Both the city of San Francisco and New York City have guidelines that require individuals to be fully vaccinated in order to attend large-scale indoor sporting events.
The NBA has since indicated that its players will not be exempted from said mandates, meaning that unvaccinted players on the Golden State Warriors, Brooklyn Nets and New York Knicks might not be able to play home games.
Just recently, it was noted that Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins has pushed back against getting the vaccination. Meanwhile, Nets general manager Sean Marks told the media earlier in the week that a couple players on their roster have not been jabbed. Rumors are floating about as to who, but we’re not going to speculate on that.
NBA training camps are slated to get going next week. The NBA preseason opens up a week from Sunday when the Nets and Los Angeles Lakers do battle in Southern California.