Some members of the Los Angeles Lakers organization will receive the COVID-19 vaccine at some point this week, according to a report from Ramona Shelburne and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
HIPAA laws prevent the Lakers from disclosing the identities of individuals — be they players, coaches, team officials, executives or other front office staff — who will receive vaccinations, the report adds. Lakers coach Frank Vogel, however, said after the Tuesday’s loss to the New Orleans Pelicans that “there’s been some talk about trying to get [COVID-19 vaccines], but we’re not there yet.”
The Lakers will join the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks, Portland Trail Blazers and Miami Heat as NBA organizations that have disclosed receipt of COVID-19 vaccines since inoculations became more readily available to the general public.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver indicated earlier this month that “most players” likely will receive the vaccine, but the league will not institute any specific policy requiring them to get it.
“They have to make personal decisions at the end of the day — and I take that very seriously, and I take concerns very seriously,” Silver said. “But my sense is most [players] will, ultimately, decide it is in their interest to get vaccinated.”
Silver added in his remarks in early March that the league believes it is “realistic” to complete the 2020-21 season, including playoffs, without making vaccinations mandatory for players, as COVID-19 protocols and procedures have for the most part worked well in limiting transmission or wider outbreaks of the coronavirus.
In January, Silver indicated the NBA was contemplating at the time whether to utilize players’ eventual COVID-19 vaccinations as a public service announcement to encourage the league’s fans, among other specific populations, to do the same.
Deliberations are believed to have cooled in some respects concerning such an action, although several NBA luminaries, including the legendary Bill Russell, have publicly received the vaccination as part of the NBA’s limited PSA efforts.
Concerning the news that some members of the Lakers are set to be vaccinated, the organization’s most visible and notable personality, LeBron James, declined to say whether he would go public when he receives the COVID-19 vaccine.
“That’s a conversation that my family and I will have,” James said earlier this month. “Pretty much keep that to a private thing.”