Several players and staff members on the Houston Rockets received the COVID-19 vaccine on Tuesday, according to head coach Stephen Silas. The coronavirus vaccine was made available following the recent decision by the State of Texas to expand vaccine eligibility to all adults.
Reserve guard Ben McLemore excitedly posted a photo on Instagram showing him receiving the vaccine. “They made the vaccine available to whoever wanted to get it, yesterday, for full-time and part-time employees,” Silas said of the Rockets’ organization. “That included players and staff. So there were some guys who got it yesterday.”
According to the NBA’s official injury reports, the Rockets currently rank No. 11 out of the league’s 30 teams in player days that have been lost while in COVID-19 “health and safety protocols.”
When asked what discussions were like among players and coaches regarding the decision of whether to take the vaccine, Silas said:
When we were in Oklahoma City for those two games [in early February], we had a zoom call with the NBA, and they tried to give us as much information as possible about the vaccine, and about how it came to be. The safety of it, and the things that could possibly happen if you do get it, or if you don’t get it.
So then, afterwards, we had a team discussion about it. My role in it, was, ‘Think of it as a decision that you have to make on your own. We will support you, whether you want to take it or not. We’ll give you all of the information you need in order to make a smart decision, not just for you, but for your family. We kind of left it at that.
Then, a few days ago, when we were presented with the opportunity to possibly get vaccinated… for those who wanted to, we again gave them the information about the different types of vaccinations, and all of that. It was up to each individual guy to make a decision to whether they wanted to do it, or not. But we were in full support as an organization, either way.
The NBA will relax some restrictions for fully vaccinated players, and lift even more when a team has 85 percent of its personnel vaccinated. It is not yet clear whether the Rockets expect to meet that threshold.
Members of the Houston Astros also received the vaccine this week, and officials with the baseball club said they expect to meet Major League Baseball’s similar 85-percent threshold in order for pandemic protocols to be loosened. Neither team indicated which of the three approved U.S. vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson) was given.
Since the Johnson & Johnson vaccine works as a single dose, taking that shot could put players and staff members within two weeks of being considered “fully vaccinated.” On the other hand, if it’s Pfizer or Moderna, players would not be considered fully vaccinated until two weeks after a second dose — which would be taken in three-to-four weeks.
Rockets coach Stephen Silas understanding of NBA’s stricter COVID-19 policies