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The NBA increases urgency surrounding booster shots

As the fight against covid-19 continues, the league is taking no chances.

The NBA increases urgency surrounding booster shots

The league has stepped up it's efforts to see all players and coaches receive their booster shots

The NBA doubles down on booster shots

The NBA has increased it's level of urgency where getting booster shots against the coronavirus is concerned. The league has advised players and coaches alike that is is no longer advisable to wait before receiving the additional dose. Booster shots should be received "as soon as possible, particularly in light of the current coronavirus situation and increasing cases," the league announced on Friday.

Earlier in the week, the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association stated that they were recommending the booster shots be received by those who are fully vaccinated. The league also implied that failure to do so by December 1st would result in daily testing for any individual who had not received the additional dose.

While there has been some push back on the new regulations, one thing can't be denied and that is the fact that the number of positive cases is increasing nationwide. That is to say nothing of the rate of covid-19 community transmission in most NBA markets, which is considered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to be "high" or "substantial." In keeping with this the league and union naturally took the step of adding urgency to their position. In recent weeks the NBA has seen an increased infection rate amongst vaccinated players, team staff and family members, which is in direct correlation with national trends.

More players are under the NBA's health protocols

There are at least eight players who are currently listed under the league's health and safety protocols. That is to say they have tested positive for COVID-19. There were, however, nine. Philadelphia's Tobias Harris returned to the court on Thursday night, playing in his first game back since testing positive. Harris had missed six games while he battled symptoms. "I'm working my way back into it," Harris said.

There are of course other NBA players who are in the league's protocols such as fellow 76ers Joel Embiid, Matisse Thybulle and Isaiah Joe who are joined by San Antonio teammates Jakob Poeltl and Jock Landale. There is also Cleveland's pair Kevin Love and Lauri Markkanen, and then there is Chicago's Nikola Vucevic.

For more from the NBA

Why is there a need for a booster shot?

Though people who are fully vaccinated are still strongly protected against things such as hospitalization and death from covid-19, immunity against infection and symptoms can decrease over time. That's before one considers the extra-contagious delta variant which is spreading exponentially. The NBA - following the lead of U.S. health authorities - is hoping to increase protection in at-risk people who were vaccinated months ago.

Earlier in the week the league indicated that those who received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine more than two months ago should prioritize getting a Pfizer or Moderna booster quickly, while those who received the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine more than six months ago were also told to seek boosters. To date, approximately 97% of NBA players have been vaccinated against covid-19 although notable individuals like Kyrie Irving continue to cause issues for the league.


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