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Andrew Wiggins has made his first public statements since recently receiving the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine, telling the media on Monday night that he felt he had no choice but to get vaccinated.
“I felt like the only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA," the Golden State Warriors swingman said via Sean Highkin. "It was a tough decision. Hopefully in 10 years it works out and I’m still healthy.”
Wiggins was in danger of missing every Warriors home game if he'd chosen to stay unvaccinated. The San Francisco Health Department mandated that by Oct. 13, everyone age 12 or older must show proof of vaccination in order to attend large indoor sporting events, and since every NBA team must follow their city's health mandates, he would have missed every single Warriors home game.
Remaining unvaccinated would have also cost Wiggins a significant amount of money. With the NBA and NBPA setting the penalty for each game missed at 1/91.6th of the player's salary, Wiggins (who is making $31.5 million this season) would have lost over $340,000 per missed game.
Wiggins said that he doesn't blame the Warriors for this situation, since all of the decisions about vaccinations have been made at the NBA level.
"They didn't make the rule," Wiggins said via ESPN. "But I guess to do certain stuff, to work, I guess you don't own your body. That's what it comes down to. If you want to work in society today, then I guess they made the rules of what goes in your body and what you do. Hopefully, there's a lot of people out there that are stronger than me and keep fighting, stand for what they believe, and hopefully, it works out for them."
Wiggins is also the only member of his family to be vaccinated against COVID-19. He said that his kids' future is one of the reasons he decided get the vaccine.
"It's not really something we believe in as a family," Wiggins said via ESPN. "They know that I had to. It came down to get the vaccination or don't play basketball. I'm 26. I have two kids. I want more kids. I'm trying to do something that will generate as much money as I can for my kids and my future kids, [create] generational wealth. So, I took the gamble, took the risk, and hopefully, I'm good."
Wiggins explains why he didn't want to get vaccinated
On Monday night, we found out exactly why Wiggins didn't want to get vaccinated.
“I noticed a lot of people were getting reactions or injuries from getting the vaccination,” Wiggins said via the San Francisco Chronicle. “Also, I don’t know what it’s going to do to me in 10 years. Gene damage. There’s no studies on whether it’s going to cause cancerous cells.
“I don’t know what it’s going to do to my body. There’s a lot of stuff. I feel like I could go on for days about why I didn’t want to get it. Most importantly, I don’t know what’s going to happen or what it’s going to do to my body in 10, 15 years, 20 years. What it will do to my kids or my future kids. But I guess it’s something I had to get done.”
Wiggins also mentioned that a "bad reaction" to Tylenol had made him wary of taking medication.
Wiggins: “I had a bad reaction a few years to Tylenol and since then I haven’t wanted to take anything. Let stuff heal naturally. … In this case, I had covid and it wasn’t that bad. I didn’t want to take the chance. I don’t know if it causes cancer or anything like that.”
— Sean Highkin (@highkin) October 5, 2021
Wiggins avoided getting vaccinated for as long as he could, and looked for ways to continue playing without getting it. He'd applied for a religious exemption from the NBA, which was denied. But even if they'd granted it, Wiggins still wouldn't have been able to play at Warriors home games. The San Francisco Department of Public Health ruled in late September that unvaccinated individuals 12 or older cannot attend large sporting events, regardless of why they're unvaccinated.