Basketball: Vaccine sceptic Wiggins says he was forced to get Covid-19 jab

Golden State Warriors' Andrew Wiggins during a Media Day at Chase Center in San Francisco, California. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Golden State Warriors swingman Andrew Wiggins says he was forced to get the one dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine in order to keep playing in the National Basketball Association.

"I guess you don't own your body," Wiggins said after the Warriors exhibition game on Monday against Portland.

"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."

Wiggins said he received the one dose Covid-19 shot which would allow him to compete in Golden State's home games this season.

Wiggins had applied to the NBA for a religious exemption last month, but was denied.

In his first public comments since receiving the vaccine, the 26-year-old Canadian said he was left with no other choice but to get it.

"The only options were to get vaccinated or not play in the NBA," Wiggins said. "It was a tough decision. Hopefully, it works out in the long run and in 10 years I'm still healthy."

Under new civic health and safety rules, Wiggins would have been barred from taking part in Golden State home games if he didn't get vaccinated. The San Francisco Department of Health recently announced that anyone aged over 12 must be jabbed to attend indoor sports events.

Wiggins drew attention to the issue last week, telling reporters it was his issue to deal with, not journalists'. Asked about the potential for lost income, he said: "It's my problem, not yours."

On Monday, he described getting the vaccine as giving in.

"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," he said.

The number of US deaths from Covid-19 has surpassed 700,000, the most fatalities in the world from the illness.

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