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Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac has been under fire recently for his unvaccinated status and explained his reasons for not getting the shot during Monday’s Media Day.
While an article from the Rolling Stone said that Isaac made his decision based off studying black history and watching Donald Trump’s press conferences, Isaac refuted the claim.
“I am not anti-vax, I’m not anti-medicine, I am not anti-science,” Isaac said. “I didn’t come to my current vaccination status by studying Black history or watching Donald Trump press conferences (as the story states). I have nothing but the utmost respect for every healthcare worker and person in Orlando and all across the world that have worked tirelessly to keep us safe. My mom has worked in healthcare for a really long time. I thank God and I’m grateful that I live in a society where vaccines are possible, and we can protect ourselves and have the means to protect ourselves.
“But with that being said, it is my belief that the vaccine status of every person should be their own choice. Completely up to them without bullying, without being pressured, without being forced into doing so. I’m not ashamed to say that I’m uncomfortable with taking the vaccine at this time. We’re all different. We all come from different places. We’ve all had different experiences and hold dear to different beliefs. And what it is you do with your body when it comes to putting medicine in there should be your choice, free of the ridicule and the opinion of others.”
Isaac, 23, said he is a firm believer in natural immunity and has done the necessary research to come to his decision.
“I would start with I’ve had COVID in the past and so our understanding of antibodies, of natural immunity has changed a great deal from the onset of the pandemic and is still evolving,” Isaac said. “I understand that the vaccine would help if you have COVID, you’ll be able to have less symptoms from contracting it. But with me having COVID in the past and having antibodies, with my current age group and physical fitness level, it’s not necessarily a fear of mine.
“Taking the vaccine, like I said, it would decrease my chances of having a severe reaction, but it does open me up to the albeit rare chance but the possibility of me having an adverse reaction to the vaccine itself.”
While the truthfulness of natural immunity has been challenged, numerous studies including the prominent Israeli study from last month confirm that those with natural immunity are just as protected from COVID-19 as those with the vaccine.
As an unvaccinated player, Isaac faces the possibility of being forced to sit out games in cities where only vaccinated people can enter indoor facilities. Isaac is aware of the NBA’s protocols, but thinks the rules aren’t consistent.
“When it comes to the NBA and them having restrictions or rules in place, the NBA is free to make those decisions, and I as a member of the NBA will follow suit with whatever protocol is set before us,” Isaac said. “If the NBA is to give us regulations like we can’t maybe sit at the same part of the plane as the other players or eat in the same room as the other players, I guess my only thought on that would be I don’t think it would logically follow for us to then play on the same court and share the same ball and bump chests and do all those things.
“So, if the NBA is going to do those things I would honor it, but at the same time I would ask that it doesn’t seem logically consistent.”
Isaac is not alone in his fight, as other top players have come out and said they don’t plan on getting vaccinated. Among those, include Wizards guard Bradley Beal and Warriors forward Andrew Wiggins. Nets guard Kyrie Irving has denied to reveal his vaccination status but was absent during Monday’s Media Day due to New York City’s COVID-19 protocols.