‘Nobody Should Be Forced’, Says Irving About COVID-19 Vaccination

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The 75th season of the NBA commences on Tuesday with fans focused on Brooklyn Nets’ Kyrie Irving, whose refusal to take the COVID-19 vaccine in defiance of New York City’s mandate led the Nets to announce he would not suit up for the team.

The loaded Nets roster includes Kevin Durant and James Harden, but the team will be at a disadvantage without sharp-shooting point guard Irving, a seven-time All-Star who won a title with Cleveland in 2016.

Irving, 29, framed his decision as one of personal choice in an Instagram Live video last week.

“Nobody should be forced to do anything with their bodies,” Irving said.

“You only get one of these (bodies). If you choose to get the vaccine, I support you. If you choose to be unvaccinated, I support you.”

More than 700,000 people have died in the United States from COVID-19. Vaccination rates have risen more than 20 percentage points after multiple institutions adopted vaccine requirements, while case numbers and deaths from the virus are down, the White House said last week.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has said the widely available vaccines can keep the recipient from getting and spreading the virus that causes COVID-19, while protecting others, particularly those at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

New York’s mandate requires proof of at least one shot of the vaccine to enter large indoor spaces. The NBA has said players who are unable to compete due to local mandates will miss out on pay.

 

Chidi Nwoke/Reuters.

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