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Beal says he doesn’t feel pressure to get vaccine

Washington Wizards star guard Bradley Beal said he “definitely thinks” about getting vaccinated against COVID-19 but still remains unvaccinated for personal reasons entering training camp.

“I don’t feel pressure [to get vaccinated],” Beal said on Monday. “I don’t think you can pressure anybody into making a decision about their body or what they put into their body. We can have this discussion about a lot of different topics besides vaccines too. You can’t necessarily force anybody or kind of say it’s time for a vaccine. I think you kind of let people come into their own about it. If they do their research when they feel comfortable, they do it.

“I definitely think about it, for sure,” he continued. “With the guidelines that the league makes and everything, the protocols they’re doing, it kind of makes it difficult on us to where they kind of force us in a way to want to get it. At the end of the day, I talk it over with my family and we make a decision what’s best for us.”

Beal was asked multiple times about being unvaccinated during his media session with reporters on Wizards media day and had questions of his own pertaining to what has become a hot-button issue around the NBA.

“I would like an explanation to people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID?” Beal asked. “If that is something that [vaccinated individuals] are supposed be highly protected from, like it’s funny that it only reduces your chances of going to the hospital. Doesn’t eliminate anybody from getting COVID. Right?”

“… So you can still get COVID,” Beal added. “And you can still pass it along with the [vaccination] right? I am just asking the question.”

According to the CDC, getting vaccinated can help reduce the likelihood of contracting or spreading the virus, and helps to prevent serious illness.

Beal has been no stranger to COVID-19. The Wizards had a coronavirus outbreak last season that brought their season to 13-day pause. There were seven Wizards in health and safety protocols during that time. Beal was pulled from the floor an hour before tip due to contact tracing on Jan. 9, three days before their season was paused.

And then this past summer, Beal was unable to participate in the Olympics with USA Basketball after he was placed in health and safety protocols.

Beal was asked if that changed his opinion at all on whether to receive the vaccine.

“No, that wasn’t the case,” Beal said. “Yeah I had it but that doesn’t mean I can’t get it again. It is no different than with somebody with the vaccine. Yes, I developed the antibodies for it so my chances would be less likely now as well, right? But still a possibility I may get it. Just like there are players and coaches and staff who are [vaccinated] and missing camp because of it right now.”

Beal, 28, said he has several family members — including his father, mother and older brothers — who are vaccinated. And he says he has people close to him who are also unvaccinated.

“One hundred percent I understand both sides of it,” Beal said. “I understand there is a percentage of people that can get very sick. I didn’t get sick at all. I lost my smell but that was it for me. Everybody is going to react different. Everybody is going to take it differently. Some people have bad reactions to the vaccine. Nobody likes to talk about that. What happens if one of our players gets the vaccine and they can’t play after that or they have complications after that because there are cases like that. But I feel like we don’t talk about those as heavily because they are so minute maybe? But they are existent.

“We can talk all day about it,” Beal continued. “Everybody is going to have their own opinion. Everybody is going to have their own timing and comfort of when they feel like they want to meet those criteria needs or feel like they want to get the vaccine.”

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