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22 Dec, 2020 11:57

‘He could convince people’: LeBron urged to publicly take Covid-19 vaccine – but skeptics warn NBA icon not to follow Biden’s lead

‘He could convince people’: LeBron urged to publicly take Covid-19 vaccine – but skeptics warn NBA icon not to follow Biden’s lead

In an extraordinary interview on live TV, US Surgeon General Jerome Adams has called on basketball great LeBron James to publicly take a Covid-19 jab – leading to a row between those who agree with the idea and vaccine skeptics.

Speaking after President-elect Joe Biden was filmed taking the Pfizer vaccine, Adams - known as the "nation's doctor" - insisted that Los Angeles Lakers legend James could accelerate the end of the pandemic by making a public example of himself taking the newly-delivered treatment for the disease.

Adams also said that James should encourage his millions of devout fans to "save a life this holiday season" by visiting a website to give plasma as part of an initiative to support scientific investigations into the virus.

"I know you’ve been a big supporter of masks," Adams said on KTLA, speaking after figures showed that more than half of the US population would volunatarily take the vaccine.

"I want to know when you’re going to take the shot. Not the basketball shot, but the Covid shot.

"I did it because I know it’s safe, and we want to make sure people understand this is how we end the pandemic.”

Critics on social media pointed out that the vaccine has only been developed this year, with many claiming it was unsafe despite the US Food and Drug Administration authorizing its immediate use in strained hospitals across the country.

Others argued over whether high-profile sporting figures such as LeBron should be expected to assume public responsibilities, revisited rows over the ethics of the production of sportswear endorsed by James and even repeated baseless conspiracy theories about the vaccine.

"It’s not about responsibility," said a supporter of Adams. "It’s because LeBron is influential and he could convince some people who are tentative about the vaccine to actually get it. When a lot of high-profile people get the vaccine, it helps."

Biden, who won the election last month, took the vaccine in Delaware and gave the outgoing Trump administration some credit for its arrival.

"I'm doing this to demonstrate that people should be prepared, when it's available, to take the vaccine," he explained. "There's nothing to worry about."

Adams emphatically agreed. "That's how we promote confidence," he said.

"We want people to lead by example. Take the shot, LeBron. Take the shot."

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