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Washington Wizards guard Bradley Beal raised more than a few eyebrows on Monday when he said that he'd declined to get the COVID-19 vaccine for "personal reasons," while also using anti-vaccine misinformation to justify his decision.
One day later, Beal has clarified his comments about why he's declined to get the COVID-19 vaccine, stating that he's not anti-vaccine and is currently medically unable to get the vaccine.
What Beal said on Tuesday
Bradley Beal clarifies his opinion on the COVID-19 vaccine
"I'm still considering getting the vaccine. ... I'm not sitting up here advocating or campaigning that 'no, you should not get that vaccine!' I'm not doing that. ... It is a personal decision between every individual." pic.twitter.com/M7x3W1Po9T
— Hoop District (@Hoop_District) September 28, 2021
Beal began his comments on the COVID-19 vaccine by saying he still believes everything he said on Monday, but that he's not campaigning for people to refuse the vaccine. He believes it's a "personal decision" that everyone needs to make, but he's not anti-vaccine.
Bradley Beal is asked again about how he came to the personal decision not to get the COVID vaccine: "I’m still considering getting the vaccine, so one thing I want to make clear is that I’m not sitting up here advocating that you shouldn’t get the vaccine.”
— Ben Rohrbach (@brohrbach) September 28, 2021
Then Beal revealed that he wouldn't be able to get vaccinated yet even if he wanted to. He just hit the 60-day mark after his recent bout with COVID — which kept him out of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics — and "laws and rules" say that he's not able to be vaccinated at this point. According to the CDC, someone who had COVID-19 has to wait 90 days to be vaccinated if they were treated with monoclonal antibodies or convalescent plasma. Beal didn't confirm whether he received either of those treatments when he had COVID over the summer.
Beal also said that he's continuing to listen to Wizards team doctors and specialists about the vaccine, and is discussing that with his family. He's still considering whether to get the vaccine, and didn't say he would get it when he's able.
What Beal said on Monday
Beal's comments on Monday had a different tone. He said that getting the vaccine is a personal decision and that no one should be pressured to make a decision about their body. But then he started using some decidedly misinformed anti-vaccine rhetoric, seemingly to support his decision to decline the vaccine.
"I would like an explanation to people with vaccines, why are they still getting COVID?" Beal asked via ESPN. "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."
The oddest thing about this is that Beal seems to know what the vaccine does. He knows that it reduces people's chances of dying or being hospitalized with severe symptoms if they contract COVID-19. But he didn't appear to think that's good enough.
The vaccine was never supposed to stop people from getting COVID-19. It was supposed to make getting COVID-19 an experience you can live through with fewer long-term consequences, which it does effectively. According to the CDC, over 180 million Americans have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19, roughly 55 percent of the population.