Thursday, April 22, 2021

Danny Ainge says 'a few' Celtics players, staff declined to get COVID-19 vaccine

Danny Ainge gave an update on the Celtics' COVID-19 vaccination status during his weekly radio appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub.

The team's president of basketball operation revealed that not everyone in the organization chose to get vaccinated. 
"Yeah, the team has been vaccinated, the people that chose to," Ainge said Thursday morning on "Toucher and Rich". "We've had a few people on staff that didn't want to, and a few players that didn't want to. But yeah, they have had that opportunity."
While Ainge said he was aware of the reasons behind why some chose not to get vaccinated, he would not go into specifics.
"They all have different reasons as to why they didn't want to get it," Ainge explained. "Some didn't feel like we have enough information. Some feel like they just don't do any vaccinations. They don't do flu shots, they don't believe in putting the poison in their bodies, and they just don’t feel comfortable doing it. And the same person doesn't really take anti-inflammatories or aspirin or anything either, like that's just how he is."
The CDC has deemed the COVID-19 vaccine as "safe and effective," and Ainge noted that the NBA COVID guidelines require for at least 85% of players and staff to be vaccinated before many of the current protocols can be lifted. According to Ainge, the Celtics have not reached that percentage yet.

Still, Ainge believes players that declined to be vaccinated could come around, as most are getting tired of the daily testing for COVID-19.
"We had one player that after they got back from the road trip said, 'You know what? I'm kind of tired of this point-of-care testing, so I think I will get vaccinated,'" said Ainge. "Maybe there will be others, but we can’t force them and everybody has their own beliefs in this process."
Ainge doesn't think the Celtics differ from other teams across the league when it comes to players and staff that didn't get vaccinated.
"I don't think the Celtics are an outlier,” Ainge replied. "There are a lot teams that have had much less success of getting people vaccinated. I think it's just part of our society. I mean we have a lot people that are choosing to not get vaccinated. Many, and everybody probably has different reasons. But there’s a lot of fear out there about the vaccines."
The Celtics by far have the most "player-days missed due to COVID-19 protocols" in the NBA this season. Boston players have missed a combined 162 days and it's not even a close second when it comes to the Dallas Mavericks, who rank next after the C's with 118 days missed.

Marcus Smart tested positive for COVID-19 back in March of 2020. Jayson Tatum has admitted that he uses an inhaler before games since his battle with COVID-19 in January of 2021. Newcomer Evan Fournier has been out since April 6 due to being in the league's health and safety protocols and is currently working his way out. Robert Williams, Tristan Thompson, and Romeo Langford have all dealt with COVID this season, as well.

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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