NBL reveals 99 per cent vaccination rate
NBL commissioner Jeremy Loeliger has revealed 99 per cent of the league's players have received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
With the season opener still seven weeks away, scheduled for December 3, Loeliger says there's been a strong reaction to an education campaign aimed at clubs and their playing rosters.
"The really pleasing element is that 99 per cent of our players are already either completely vaccinated or had their first dose," Loeliger said on Tuesday.
"It's fantastic that they've taken such a proactive response to being prepared for the season.
"We've ensured that we've delivered a really extensive education program for clubs and players to ensure that they are aware of the implications of not being vaccinated, both from a health perspective but also from a practical perspective and what that could mean in terms of crossing between state borders or international borders.
"And what it could mean in terms of potentially not being permitted access to venues as well."
NBL competition owner and executive chairman Larry Kestelman is proud of the position taken by players, which he said showed care for the community.
The NBA rate is about 95 per cent, including players who have had one vaccination.
NBL clubs have taken a firm stance on vaccinations with the New Zealand Breakers and Tai Webster parting ways when the Kiwi international refused any vaccination.
Import guard Travis Trice, who spent time with Cairns and Brisbane before playing in the NBA's G-League and Europe, had signed with the Illawarra in July for this coming season.
But the Hawks said they couldn't carry a player who wasn't vaccinated as he wouldn't be able to freely travel between states or to New Zealand.
"It's an outcome that I think every sport can be proud, of any business can be proud of," Kestelman said on Tuesday.
"The 99 per cent is just amazing and I'm confident we'll get the season up and running with that not being an issue. "
Loeliger says the NBL doesn't have a firm policy in place to deal with a player contracting COVID-19 because he expects states to treat cases differently.
He said a whole team contracting the virus remained a "concern".
"As we did in respect of vaccinations, we will wait and see how the situation plays out from a regulatory point of view, and then we'll come up with a policy to suit the circumstances.
"We've seen it can transmit very quickly and it does remain a concern for us as it does I'm sure for every sporting code and every workplace.
"We will continue to watch it very closely, we'll develop a rigorous policy that will apply across the board, but it's probably too early to do so at this stage."
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