Bucks hope to ‘Net’ fans for COVID jab


Milwaukee Bucks offer fans vaccination on gameday Image: Fiserv Forum

The May 2nd game between the National Basketball Association (NBA) teams Milwaukee Bucks and Brooklyn Nets could hold lot of significance for fans attending the matchup at the former’s digs – Fiserv Forum (US). It holds significance not just because the home team is trying to ‘Net’ a top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The ‘Washington Post’ quoted the Bucks as stating that anyone 16 or older who attends the fixture can get his or her first dose of Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine. Pfizer’s two-dose vaccine is the only one in the United States authorized for use in people 16 years or older.

The Milwaukee Bucks are an American professional basketball team based in Milwaukee, US. The Bucks compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the League’s Eastern Conference Central Division. The team was founded in 1968 as an expansion team, and play at the 17,341-capacity Fiserv Forum.

The Brooklyn Nets are an American professional basketball team based in the New York City borough of Brooklyn (US). The Nets compete in the National Basketball Association (NBA) as a member of the Atlantic Division of the Eastern Conference. The team plays its home games at the 19,000-capacity Barclays Center.

‘The Washington Post’ further quoted the Bucks and Fiserv Forum President Peter Feigin as saying in a statement sent out, “We strongly encourage everyone to get vaccinated and are pleased to team with the Milwaukee Health Department to give fans this easy and convenient opportunity. This is a critical time for all of us to take the necessary step that will help return our lives to normal. Let’s make this happen together.”

The jabs will be given at a designated area in the arena starting 1½ hours before the 3:30 p.m. Eastern tip-off and will continue through the conclusion of the game, which will be nationally televised on ABC. Fans can then schedule their second dose with onsite Health Department officials.

The Bucks said the vaccination process should take about 20-30 minutes. That will include signing up, getting the shot in the arms and then remaining at the site for circa 15 minutes.

Fiserv Forum General Manager Dennis Williams commented, “We’re hoping for a few hundred people to come out and get vaccinated. We’re hoping word of mouth, and the support from the Health Department is going to be enough to see some pretty encouraging numbers on Sunday (May 2nd).”

For the time being, restrictions in place due to COVID-19 – which is gradually taking a turn for the better in the United States – have capped arena attendance at 18 percent of the maximum capacity – or 3,266 people – and there won’t be an increase in number for Sunday’s event. Williams informed that apart from the fans who will get vaccinated, so will many of the facility’s employees, including concession workers and others.

Added Williams, “It was important to try to capture as many people as possible, and what better way than a Bucks game that sees 600-800 employees on top of the 3,266 who will be here on Sunday as well?”

Williams said it was his understanding that Bucks players and team staff members have met the NBA’s 85 percent vaccinated threshold that loosens protocols on quarantining and personal activities. The team informed earlier this month that it had held vaccine clinics for players and team staff and it offered encouragement for “everyone to receive a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as the vaccine becomes available to you”.

Bucks players won’t be directly involved in Sunday’s vaccination event, which was organized by the team, the arena and the Health Department. The NBA has been “supportive of our efforts”, said Williams, but the vaccination decision is not part of a Leaguewide campaign.

An NBA official informed that the NBA team New Orleans Pelicans have already begun providing vaccinations at home games. Two such events have taken place recently at the New Orleans’s residence – the 17,791-capacity Smoothie King Center, and a spokesman for the Pelicans said they would continue through the team’s remaining home games.

The League official added, “The campaign has been successful, but you always want more people participating.”

The New Orleans Pelicans are an American professional basketball team based in New Orleans. The Pelicans compete in the NBA as a member of the League’s Western Conference Southwest Division.

Williams said the recent announcement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that fully vaccinated Americans should feel empowered to resume some activities in public without masks generated interest in the event.

The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is the national public health agency of the United States. It is a United States federal agency, under the Department of Health and Human Services, and is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia.

Williams continued, “If we can help out in any way, I think that’s our goal.”

He mentioned concerts and other events to be held at the arena and the importance of “getting back to some normalcy, as a whole.”

Williams further informed that the Milwaukee Health Department has offered to return to Fiserv Forum to administer second doses to arena employees. Because of uncertainty related to the end of the NBA’s regular season and the start of the playoffs, though, fans will get help in arranging for their second doses at other locations. Depending on how Sunday unfolds, even more fans may be able to take advantage of an opportunity that might not be a one-time event.

Williams maintained, “If it’s successful and it works, we would absolutely consider doing it again. Our hope is participation is really high.”

The ‘NECN’ stated that since the fatal respiratory disease broke out globally in March 2020, the sports venue sector has bend over backwards to help fight the pandemic – professional sports teams have turned their stadia and arenas first into large COVID-19 testing centers and later as vaccinations sites while they were not using the facilities.

The ‘NECN’ further stated that in March this year, Major League Baseball (MLB) announced its venues had administered a total of 1 million vaccines.

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