Golden State Warriors' Andrew Wiggins Claims He Felt 'Forced' to Get COVID-19 Vaccine
Golden State Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins is going public with his feelings about getting the COVID-19 vaccine ahead of the 2021-22 season.
On Monday, following the Warriors' preseason opener against the Portland Trail Blazers, the 26-year-old said that he had received the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine because he felt "forced" to.
Wiggins recently had his request for a religious exemption from the COVID-19 vaccine denied by the NBA, prompting his decision to get the shot in order to play in the upcoming season without missing games based on his status.
"The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA," Wiggins said during the post-game press conference. "It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I'm still healthy."
He continued, "It feels good to play, but getting vaccinated, that's going to be something that stays in my mind for a long time," Wiggins said. "It's not something I wanted to do, but I was kind of forced to."
Wiggins added that he felt supported by his teammates both before and after his decision.
Currently, there is no mandate requiring NBA players to be fully vaccinated from COVID-19. However, health regulations in the San Francisco areas require athletes to be vaccinated to play in home games. San Francisco's new Chase Center — home court for the Warriors — requires all visitors 12 and older to be fully vaccinated before entering the building.
Last week, Mike Bass, the NBA's executive vice president of communications, also issued a statement that players without the COVID-19 vaccine will not be paid for the games they are forced to miss due to their vaccination status.
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Wiggins said during the press conference that he didn't want to miss any games, citing his desire to play and get paid in order to financially provide for his children.
The athlete noted that a part of his hesitancy toward the vaccine came from a "scary" incident years ago where he had an allergic reaction to Tylenol. He said that since then, "I don't really like to take anything at all. I usually just let stuff heal naturally."
According to the CDC, the COVID-19 vaccines have "undergone the most intensive safety monitoring in U.S. history." The CDC also says that people can get vaccinated even if they have a history of severe allergic reactions not related to vaccines or injectable medications.
Representatives for the Golden State Warriors did not immediately respond to PEOPLE's request for comment.
More than 90 percent of the players in the NBA are fully vaccinated so far. Current and retired NBA stars have voiced their support for COVID vaccines and have urged players and organizations to reach a 100 percent vaccination goal.
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