Sources: Vax rate for NBA players rises to 95%

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The NBA has reached a 95% vaccination threshold of its players, reflecting a steady rise since the opening of training camps this week, league sources told ESPN on Thursday.

That uptick — which includes players who’ve minimally received one vaccination shot, sources said — comes as unvaccinated players prepare for losses of salary for games missed in the Bay Area and New York due to local governmental mandates.

The story of unvaccinated players such as a Brooklyn‘s Kyrie Irving and Washington‘s Bradley Beal consumed the news cycle surrounding the opening of training camps Monday, but teams indicates that a number of factors — including continued education on the safety of the vaccine — have contributed to the increase in player participation.

Near the opening of training camps, the NBA had approximately 90% of its players vaccinated.

The NBA and the Players Association agreed on stringent policies for unvaccinated players this season, including realities of significant isolation from teammates and staff.

The protocols will require unvaccinated players to be under many of the same restrictions that the entire league played under for the vast majority of last season, before the COVID-19 vaccine was available.

Vaccinated players, on the other hand, will have far fewer restrictions. For example, all fully vaccinated players, as well as Tier 1 personnel — coaches and anyone else working regularly within 15 feet of players and referees, all of whom have already been mandated to get the vaccine — will not have to undergo daily testing.

Teams have also been instructed to have their seating arrangements prevent players that aren’t fully vaccinated from sitting together.

One thing that will be consistent for both vaccinated and unvaccinated players is the use of face masks, which the protocols say everyone will have to wear at all times in team facilities, when traveling with the team and where otherwise required under applicable federal, state, or local laws, regulations or orders.

Most team staff, as well as NBA referees, are required to be vaccinated.

In addition to Irving, it surfaced that Golden State Warriors wing Andrew Wiggins could be prevented from playing in home games this season because of executive orders in San Francisco and New York that require people to be fully vaccinated to be allowed indoors for entertainment.

The orders only apply to the players who play in those markets; out-of-market players are exempted from them. Players who are forced to miss games due to those executive orders will not be paid for any games they miss.

Wiggins’ request for a religious exemption was denied by the league.

ESPN’s Baxter Holmes and Tim Bontemps contributed to this report.

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