Bradley Beal confirmed Monday afternoon at Wizards media day that he is not vaccinated against COVID-19, citing personal reasons.
The NBA did not mandate vaccinations for players, but did so for staff and referees. Personnel under team control who work within 15 feet of players or officials during games will be required to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 1, according to ESPN.
Beal did not participate in the Tokyo Olympics due to health and safety protocols after a positive COVID-19 test this summer and missed out on a chance to compete in Japan with the gold medal-winning Team USA. Beal said he lost his sense of smell, but didn’t have any further serious complications.
He added Monday that he did not feel pressure to get vaccinated.
“I don’t feel pressure, I don’t think you can pressure anybody to making a decision about their body or what they put into their body,” Beal said. “We can have this conversation about a lot of different topics besides vaccines, too. You can’t necessarily force anybody, I think you kind of let people come into their own about it.”
When asked if he considered getting vaccinated at any point this summer, Beal confirmed he had.
“I definitely think about it for sure, with the guidelines that the league makes and everything that the protocols are doing, they kind of make it difficult on us to where they kind of force us in a way to get it,” Beal said.
Beal didn’t delve much into his decision-making process, but questioned why people who have been fully vaccinated from COVID-19 have still contracted the virus.
“I would like an explanation to people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID?” Beal said. “If that’s something we’re supposed to highly be protected from, that’s funny that it only reduces your chances of going to the hospital. It doesn’t eliminate anyone from getting COVID.”
According to the CDC, vaccinated people were nearly five times less likely to be infected with COVID-19 and 10 times less likely to need hospitalization. In total, unvaccinated people are 11 times more likely to die from COVID than vaccinated people. The CDC also states that while vaccinations do not prevent a vaccinated person catching COVID, they greatly decrease the chance of infection, hospitalization and death.
Beal added his bout with COVID-19 over the summer did not change his mind on choosing to get vaccinated.
“Yeah I had it, but that doesn’t mean I can’t get it again,” Beal said. “I mean it’s no different than somebody with the vaccine. Yes, I developed antibodies for it, so my chances will be less likely for it as well. It’s still a possibility, just like there are players and coaches and staff who are vaxxed that are missing camp as well.”