Around the NBA, a number of players and team employees have already received their COVID-19 vaccinations.
We can add some, but not all of the Philadelphia 76ers to the list, as a team spokesperson confirmed to Crossing Broad that a recent clinic was held for vaccine-eligible employees and players. That’s a positive step forward for the organization, as eligibility requirements begin to relax significantly across the United States in the month of April.
It would also indicate that the team is going about the process in a fair and reasonable way, without “jumping the line” or taking vaccines from higher-risk folks.
Earlier this year, back in January, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver was met with some push back when suggesting that players could get the vaccine early, which would double as a PSA of sorts, to help incentivize their respective communities to follow suit. In the Sixers’ case, they could certainly participate in some bigger community campaign to get hesitant local residents on board, only in this instance they’d be doing it after healthcare professionals and at-risk Americans got first crack at the vaccine.
If we were talking several months ago, at the beginning of the vaccination period, then some indignation would be justified, but that’s not the case here. And in March, we had Hawks, Pelicans, and Blazers players getting the vaccine in their respective states, which were further along than the states in our region.
For some context, Pennsylvania was originally operating at a snail’s pace, and is currently in the 1B phase of vaccinations, but will be moving to 1C on April 12th. PA and New Jersey will then both expand access to people age 16 and over on Monday, April 19th, while Delaware began that process earlier in the week.
That means the entirety of the Sixers’ squad will be eligible for the vaccine in 11 days. With some players already being inoculated, the rest will be able to follow suit by the tail-end of this month.