NBA recommends COVID-19 booster injections for players, coaches and referees

MIAMI – The NBA told its players, coaches and referees on Sunday that they should receive reminders against the coronavirus, with particular urgency for those who have received the single-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The league and the National Basketball Players Association – working jointly based on advice from the league’s public health and infectious disease experts – said those who received injections of Johnson & Johnson more than two months ago should receive a reminder. The recall recommendation was also made for those who received the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines at least six months ago.

The league’s recommendations, which were obtained by The Associated Press, called on those who had received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine originally to seek a Pfizer or Moderna booster. Those with Pfizer or Moderna can get any booster available, the league said.

Data used to make league decisions showed antibody levels for recipients Pfizer and Moderna decreased after six months and after two months for recipients Johnson & Johnson.

In some cases, those who are vaccinated but choose not to receive a booster would be re-tested on game day starting December 1, the NBA said. This December 1 date varies depending on when the person was first vaccinated and the type of vaccine they received.

Some teams have already made provision for players to receive boosters when they are available. A small number of previously vaccinated NBA players have tested positive this season for COVID-19 and have entered league health and safety protocols.

Among those who have been sidelined in recent times: Tobias Harris of Philadelphia, who was showing symptoms, 76ers coach Doc Rivers said.

“He’s fine but not great, honestly.… It hit him for sure,” Rivers said last week. “A lot of guys have had that, and they’re crazy, like ‘What, I’m fine.’ Tobias is not in that category right now, I can tell you that. “

About 97% of NBA players were said to have been vaccinated at the start of the season last month. In the United States, nearly 60% of the population, or more than 193 million people, are fully immunized. More than 21 million people have received a booster dose, and those numbers are skyrocketing every day.

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