Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic tried to buy COVID-19 vaccines for Bosnia and Herzegovina

·2-min read

Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic has noticed how many extra COVID-19 vaccines there are available in the United States.

So, seeing a need back home, he tried to send as many as he could back to Bosnia and Herzegovina.

For a country that only has about 5% of its population fully vaccinated against the coronavirus, Nurkic’s donation would have been immensely helpful.

While he made significant progress on his plan, Nurkic wasn’t able to pull through.

"They just have donations, but not enough to vaccinate the people," Nurkic said, via ESPN. "I tried to buy it for the whole country. I figured out the money, the plan and everything. But we still can't do it.

"Even if we find vaccines, I guess United States laws say that until the American people are vaccinated, you can't sell it. So, I don't know what else to do. I really tried."

Nurkic: ‘I just feel like humanity has kind of failed’

The coronavirus pandemic, like it is for so many others around the globe, is personal for Nurkic.

The 26-year-old said he lost several family members to the virus, including his grandmother — news he learned shortly after arriving at the NBA bubble in Walt Disney World last July.

Though she made it more than two weeks battling the coronavirus and even overcame it, Nurkic’s grandmother died two days later of a heart attack.

"At that point, I wished I could just take a plane to go to the funeral," he said, via ESPN. "Probably, if I could do it again, I would do that. It's difficult when you're really far away."

Nurkic — who has one year left on his four-year, $48 million deal with Portland — said that seeing some Americans be so against the vaccine is incredibly frustrating.

About 48% of adults in the United States are fully vaccinated, according to The New York Times. Even though that’s significantly higher than many countries across the globe, it’s far below what President Joe Biden hoped the country would be at by now.

And if they aren’t going to get used here, he said, shouldn’t they be used elsewhere?

"All these countries are suffering and you have the United States, obviously the No. 1 in the world, has the vaccines and people don't want to get vaccinated," Nurkic said, via ESPN.

"I just feel like humanity has kind of failed, because all the countries around should get at least some of those vaccines, right?"

Jusuf Nurkic of the Portland Trail Blazers
Jusuf Nurkic said he tried to buy as many COVID-19 vaccines as possible for his home country of Bosnia and Herzegovina. (Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

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