Lakers head coach Frank Vogel was asked on Tuesday night if the team had any opportunities to get the COVID-19 vaccine yet, and he said no, but admitted the organization had looked into it.
“Not yet. We’re still waiting. There’s been some talk about trying to get it, but we’re not there yet,” Vogel said.
On Wednesday morning, however, ESPN reported that the organization did have a plan in place to get the vaccine to some people in the organization:
Members of the Los Angeles Lakers organization are expected to receive a vaccine for COVID-19 this week, sources told ESPN.
It was not clear which players or staffers were planning to receive the vaccine as HIPAA regulations preclude anyone from the team commenting on the situation.
Members of the Lakers are being offered the one shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine, according to sources. https://t.co/EGj7kl0w8D— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) March 24, 2021
Currently, Los Angeles County’s Public Health Department website says it is only vaccinating people in the following groups:
- Healthcare workers
- Long-term care facility residents
- Persons 65 years and older
- Education and childcare workers
- Emergency services workers
- Food and agriculture workers
- Janitorial, Custodial, and Maintenance Services workers
- Transportation and Logistics workers
- People who live or work in congregate living spaces
- Individuals with health conditions and disabilities
However, vaccine distribution is currently ramping up across the country, with President Joe Biden announcing a goal for the vaccine to be available to anyone that wants it by May 1. The Washington Post reports that White House officials “told governors to expect a significant increase in vaccine supply starting next week and ‘continuing each week for several months.’”
The NBA is currently not requiring any of its players or staffers to get vaccinated, but members of the “the New Orleans Pelicans, Atlanta Hawks and Portland Trail Blazers have previously acknowledged receiving the vaccine,” according to ESPN.
While Kyle Kuzma admitted before the All-Star break that he and his teammates had discussed the vaccine, the only players to comment publicly so far have been LeBron James and Marc Gasol.
James said before the All-Star game that he didn’t want to discuss whether or not he’d get vaccinated if it were available to him.
“That’s a conversation that, you know, my family and I will have,” James said. “And pretty much probably keep that to a private thing. Obviously I’ve seen Adam (Silver) had his comments about the vaccination and what not. But, you know, things like that, when you decide to do something, that’s a conversation between you and your family and not for everybody.”
And before the season started in December, Gasol said that people who are at higher risk should be getting access to the vaccine before professional athletes.
“I think there’s people right now that need the vaccine more than we do,” Gasol said then. “We’re very fortunate, like I said before, to be in a very safe environment. Physically, the virus doesn’t affect a 35-year-old male as much as it affects other people that are more at risk and more vulnerable to the virus, so I would prefer that the vaccine obviously goes to the people that need it the most instead of us. That is just, to me, common sense.”