Nov 8, 2021 - Sports

NBA recommends COVID booster shots for players, coaches and referees

 A detailed view of a coronavirus poster outside men's restroom prior to the game between the Miami Heat and the Charlotte Hornets at American Airlines Arena on March 11, 2020 in Miami, Florida.
Photo: Michael Reaves/Getty Images

The NBA is calling on players, coaches and referees to get COVID-19 vaccine booster shots — with a particular urgent emphasis for those who received Johnson & Johnson's single-dose option, AP first reported on Sunday.

Why it matters: Those who don't get a booster will face game-day testing beginning Dec. 1, notes AP, which obtained the league's memo for its article, which the NBA published on its site.

  • The NBA told teams Sunday that the guidance applies to players who received the J&J vaccine at least two months ago, or six months if they had Pfizer or Moderna products, the Athletic's Shams Charania notes.

Details: The new guidance, which also applies to front office staff and tier 1 personnel, advises those who've had the J&J vaccine to get a Pfizer or Moderna booster shot, per AP.

  • Those who had the Moderna or Pfizer shots can get whichever booster is available.
  • The NBA drew on data showing that "antibody levels for Pfizer and Moderna recipients wane after six months, and after two months for Johnson & Johnson recipients," AP reports.

By the numbers: Roughly 97% of players are vaccinated against the coronavirus, according to AP.

Of note: The NBA's guidance is in line with CDC and FDA recommendations on booster shots.

For the record: The NBA does not have a vaccine mandate, but it does have protocols in place for vaccinated and unvaccinated players that can serve to incentivize players to get inoculated.

  • Some cities do have COVID-19 vaccine mandates, and the unvaccinated Brooklyn Nets player Kyrie Irving has not played this season due to New York City's inoculation requirement.
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