The New Orleans Pelicans announced that dozens of eligible members – including some gamers – received their first dose of the coronavirus vaccine on Saturday.
« I don’t know what it means to move forward, but it was good to make it, » said Pelicans coach Stan Van Gundy before his team hosted the Clippers on Sunday night.
On Tuesday, Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards extended immunization eligibility to anyone aged 16 and over with a health condition that could increase their risk, including asthma, high blood pressure, type 1 diabetes, or obesity (defined as body Mass index of over 25) for some NBA players).
« Louisiana as a state is doing an excellent job, » said Van Gundy, paying tribute to Dr. Andrew Gottschalk, the team’s doctor, and Aaron Nelson, the team’s vice president of player care and performance, for advice on this matter.
« These guys were on top of it because they made it clear to us in early phone calls that we weren’t going to break any of the rules, we wouldn’t jump over the line, but we’d look for our options and we have that done.
« Hopefully we can get involved in getting people to get the vaccine when they have it because I think that’s our way out of this whole thing. »
According to coach Tyronn Lue, California’s legitimacy isn’t as far-reaching as Louisiana’s. As a result, there is still no plan in place for members of the Clippers organization to receive the vaccine.
« We didn’t discuss it organizationally, » he said. “But every organization is different. You have to do the best for your team. You need to follow the protocol and know what to do.
« The boys got the vaccine, that’s good for them, and I’m pretty sure we’ll have these talks soon. But not right now. »
Former clipper Sindarius Thornwell, now a member the pelicans, tweeted Friday night that he was going to get the vaccine: « I’m going to have the vaccine shot tomorrow … your boy is kind of nervous. »
I got the first Covid vaccine yesterday. I am glad I had this opportunity. Can’t wait to get the second shot in three weeks. If you can, get it. #Vaccine
His teammate Nicolo Melli also went to Twitter to say he received a vaccine shot and to encourage others to do the same: “I received the first Covid vaccine shot yesterday. I am glad I had this opportunity. Can’t wait to get the second shot in three weeks. If you can, get it. »
Van Gundy said he wouldn’t push his players to promote the vaccine – or even get it, noting that he knows the generations-old, troubled dynamic between many black Americans and the medical community.
« We need to understand where the reluctance to trust in medical science comes from, especially in the black community, » said Van Gundy. “We have to understand where this is coming from. We’ve done some – as a government, as an establishment – we’ve done some pretty bad things.
« Over time there are people out there who remember experiments and things done on people of color without their consent, and there is no level of trust. I think that’s a little different, yes, and it’s passed down through generations and everything else. And whether we agree or not, you have to understand. »
« In my opinion, the more people we can encourage vaccination, the better we are all, » said the 61-year-old trainer. « And it seems to me that this is really our only way to get past this whole experience with COVID and open up more and keep people safe. » Hopefully a lot of people will get it. »
Sindarius Thornwell of the Pelicans publicly admitted that he was among the various New Orleans players and staff who received COVID-19 vaccination shots on Saturday.
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