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NBA Memo Says Teams Must Adhere to CDC Guidelines for COVID-19 Vaccine

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorDecember 24, 2020

The court floor and league logo are shown after Game 3 of the NBA basketball Western Conference final between the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets on Tuesday, Sept. 22, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

The NBA informed the league's 30 teams that they must adhere to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines regarding the procurement and administration of Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.

"League also tells teams that they 'may not engage in efforts to procure or administer Covid-19 vaccinations on a team-wide basis' that's not permissible under CDC or local public health guidance regarding vaccine prioritization, memo says," according to Wojnarowski.

In addition, the NBA has concluded that both vaccines are "safe and effective" following conversations with infectious disease and public health experts who have been advising the league, per Wojnarowski.

The NBA was forced to suspend its 2019-20 season for nearly five months due to the pandemic, which forced the league to eventually conclude the campaign in a bubble-like environment at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Florida.

The 2020-21 season began Dec. 22 with teams playing in home arenas, largely without fans to start. The league released a health-and-safety guide that includes many notes on COVID-19, including testing protocols, timelines to return to the court for players who test positive for COVID-19, punishments for rule violators and more.

One game has been canceled so far after the Houston Rockets were unable to field the minimum eight players needed for a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Dec. 23.

Per Marc Stein of the New York Times, three Rockets had positive or inconclusive COVID-19 tests, and James Harden violated COVID-19 protocols, forcing him to enter a four-day quarantine.

The league's 14 other games to start the year went off without a hitch, and the league is now scheduled to play out its five-game Christmas Day slate beginning with the Miami Heat and New Orleans Pelicans at 12:15 p.m. ET.

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