NBA Considering Vaccinating Players To Raise Awareness
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is advocating for everyone to get the coronavirus vaccine and is in discussions about how to get the league to encourage fans to do so.
In a Sportico roundtable on Tuesday (January 19), the commish discussed the possibility of some NBA players taking the vaccine publicly to educate the public about its safety and efficacy.
Since the NBA is largely made up of Black players, this move could play a major role in tamping down skepticism about the vaccine in African American communities that have been historically underserved by American health care.
“In the African American community, number one, there’s been enormously disparate impact from COVID,” Silver said, citing data on coronavirus contraction, hospitalizations among Black Americans. “But now, somewhat perversely, there’s been enormous resistance in the African American community for understandable historical reasons.”
The CDC reports that Black Americans are 1.4 times more likely to contract COVID-19, 3.7 times more likely to be hospitalized, and 2.8 times more likely to die from it than their white counterparts. The bureau also cites socioeconomic status, access to healthcare, and increased exposure to the coronavirus through occupation as significant roles in the increased risk.
Silver says there are “understandable historical reasons” why some Black Americans don’t trust the COVID-19 vaccine.
Silver also acknowledged the skepticism created by the Tuskegee experiment, a 40-year study that affected 399 Black patients and killed 28 people through intentional negligence, as even more reason to increase awareness.
“If that resistance continues, based on the earlier data I cited, it would be very much a double whammy to the Black community because the only way ultimately out of this pandemic is to get vaccinated,” Silver said.
Watch the full conversation below.