The NBA told players the new rules on Sunday, according to AP, and stressed that those who initially received the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine are most in need of a booster jab. Citing its waning efficacy over time, the league called on players, coaches and referees who received the vaccine more than two months ago to roll up their sleeves for a booster dose of a different jab, namely Pfizer’s or Moderna’s.
Those who were vaccinated with either the Pfizer or the Moderna vaccine were advised that they will need a booster shot six months after initial vaccination.
Depending on what vaccine a player was originally given and when that vaccination took place, some players may already face repercussions for refusing a booster dose by next month.
“In some cases, those who are vaccinated but elect to not receive a booster would be subjected to game-day testing again starting Dec. 1,” AP reported.
The announcement angered opponents of Covid-19 restrictions, including figures in the sports industry.
“Wake up, sheep. The NBA is already mandating the vaccine booster now. This won’t ever end,” tweeted sports commentator Clay Travis, who founded the sports journalism website OutKick.
Travis also questioned whether the industry was “going to make 100% healthy people get covid shots every six months for the rest of their lives.”
Sports journalist Jason Whitlock protested that the news was “just the tip,” while Inner Sports founder Garret Kramer wrote, “On what planet do we continue to mandate drugs for people who are not sick? Say NO.”
“This world and league is getting more asinine by the day,” said American professional golf champion Steve Flesch.
The NBA recommendation has found support among proponents of vaccine mandates, however.
“The NBA is doing the right thing here,” Jerome Michael Adams, former US surgeon general who served in the Donald Trump administration, tweeted, arguing that “in hindsight this should’ve been billed as a 3 dose (2 for J&J) series anyway.”
The NBA already has strict Covid-19 policies for its players, which include unvaccinated players not being able to eat with vaccinated players. Unvaccinated NBA players are also required to socially distance themselves from vaccinated players and must wear face masks.
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