The NBA delivered a warning to teams on Thursday that franchises are forbidden from pursuing and administering newly released coronavirus vaccines on a teamwide basis ahead of public health guidelines for prioritization, according to a memo obtained by ESPN.
In informing teams that medical experts advising the NBA are in agreement with the FDA that the new Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for the coronavirus are "safe and effective," the NBA told teams the league will work to vaccinate its players and staffs "consistent with the timing and prioritization set by applicable public health guidelines," the memo said.
The NBA is allowing exceptions for team physicians and health-related personnel and older staff members or those with conditions that deliver a higher risk for complications upon contracting the coronavirus, the memo said.
The memo comes in the wake of NBA commissioner Adam Silver recently telling reporters on a conference call the NBA would not "jump the line" when it came to the vaccine.
"It goes without saying that in no form or way will we jump the line," Silver said on a conference call with reporters on Monday. "We will wait our turn to get the vaccine. When you think about the logistical feat that now the federal and state governments are undertaking, where if every citizen ultimately requires two doses and with a population of over 300 million, it's beyond comprehension when you start to begin to think about the logistical challenges of transporting and distributing this vaccine."
The NBA plans to work with the National Basketball Players Association in the coming weeks and months on campaigns to educate the public on the safety of vaccines, the memo said.