Friday, January 28, 2022

NBA to require daily testing through All-Star break for players who haven’t received booster shot, per report

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The NBA hasn’t mandated that all of its players be vaccinated against COVID-19, and similarly, the league isn’t requiring players to receive a booster shot. However, players who haven’t will be subject to additional testing, and will also face some added off-court restrictions.

The NBA is requiring players that haven’t received a booster to undergo daily coronavirus testing through the All-Star break in mid-February, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The testing doesn’t include team off days. Elevated daily testing of all players, coaches and basketball staff that started on Dec. 26 also will continue through Jan. 15. Additionally, the league is also restricting non-boosted players’ attendance at large indoor gatherings, as well as bars and clubs. 

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Currently, 97 percent of players in the league are fully-vaccinated, while around 65 percent of the players that are eligible for a booster shot have received one. NBA commissioner Adam Silver has stated that his goal is to get that number much closer to 100 percent. 

“To me, the focus right now is on boosters for the 97% of players that are vaccinated,” Silver said during a recent appearance on ESPN. “Among those players who are eligible to get boosters, because as you know there’s a waiting period after your second shot, but among those who are eligible to get boosted, we’re at something like 65%, and ideally, I’d like to see that number get to 97% as well. That’s what we’re focused on right now.” 

The added testing comes as the NBA has been hit extremely hard by COVID-19-related absences in recent weeks. The league had to postpone 11 total games in December as a result of teams not having enough players available. So far this season, over 300 players and 13 head coaches have entered the league’s health and safety protocols. 

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