Golden State Warriors players scored Covid-19 vaccinations more than three weeks ahead of California giving shots to the general population, the club said Thursday.
An undisclosed number of players and coaches have received their vaccinations, but Warriors Senior Vice President Raymond Ridder declined to reveal further details.
“The players and coaches who received the vaccine were eligible under the most recent state and CDC guidelines,” Ridder said in a statement to NBC News.
The San Francisco-based franchise is the latest professional basketball team to receive vaccines, even as shots remain in short supply for millions of Americans not of a certain age or suffering from an underlying health challenge.
“There are plenty of people in California, who have chronic illness, who have disabilities, who have barriers to vaccination, who are still waiting to get vaccinated,” said Nancy Berlinger, a bioethicist at the Hastings Center, a research institute in Garrison, New York.
“Since it’s happened, since the team said this happened, they should be transparent about how they got access.”
Without a greater explanation, the public could be left to wonder how much money and power played in opening doors to vaccines, according to Berlinger and others.
“If you’re an athlete and the next thing we know you’re vaccinated and you and your team and your owner have nothing to say, that really undercuts trust in the system,” said Arthur Caplan, founding head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU School of Medicine.
Currently in California, most of those vaccinated are 65 and older.
Californians 16 and older are not eligible for vaccines until April 15. Those 50 and older will be eligible on April 1.
For Californians not meeting those benchmarks, eligibility is being limited to those working in various high-risk jobs, living or working in high-density settings or people suffering from various illnesses or medical conditions.
Those conditions include cancer, Down syndrome, pregnancy, kidney and heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.
Ridder said he could not discuss what conditions qualified any of the Warriors: “To elaborate more would be a violation of privacy/HIPAA rules.”
The Los Angeles Lakers are also reportedly in line to receive vaccinations, though L.A. County’s top health official said: “Those doses are not coming from L.A. County doses because we don’t know anything about this.”
Diana Dasrath contributed.