Charles Barkley: NBA players should skip vaccine line because of higher tax bracket

'Listen, as much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment,' the basketball star turned commentator remarked.

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Charles Barkley decided to share his opinion on who should have priority access to the coronavirus vaccine during an episode of Inside the NBA.

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The NBA Hall of Famer stated that athletes should get the COVID-19 immunization ahead of others due to how much they pay in taxes.

Charles Barkley
HOBE SOUND, FLORIDA – MAY 24: Charles Barkley commentates from the booth during The Match: Champions For Charity at Medalist Golf Club on May 24, 2020 in Hobe Sound, Florida. (Photo by Cliff Hawkins/Getty Images for The Match)

“Three hundred million shots, give a thousand to some NBA players, NFL players, hockey players,” Barkley said on Thursday evening. “Listen, as much taxes as these players pay, they deserve some preferential treatment.”

Kenny Smith, a co-panelist on the show, pushed back against Barkley’s statement and said “life or death?”

Barkley doubled down and exclaimed “Yes.”

Smith continued to add “the amount of money you make” stating income should not influence medical treatment.

Barkley responded, “I didn’t say how much money you make. I said taxes.”

Although he used taxes as the example and attempted to separate the statement from income, wealth determines the amount paid. Currently, the vaccination rollout in the United States prioritizes health care workers, residents at long-term facilities, elderly people and those with compromised immune systems.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices has met several times per month since its establishment in April 2020 and identified four ethical principles to guide the process if supplies are limited. The ACIP includes 15 voting members responsible for making vaccine recommendations, including 14 experts in vaccinology, immunology, pediatrics, internal medicine, nursing, family medicine, virology, public health, infectious diseases, and/or preventive medicine.

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Syringes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine sit in a tray in a vaccination room at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, Calif., Thursday, Jan. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Back in December, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in an interview with ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith that the league would not make any moves in an attempt to have priority access to any vaccine.

“There’s no way we’d ever jump the line in any form whatsoever,” Silver said. “And, for the most part, because our players are so young and healthy without some sort of comorbidity, they will not be a high priority for vaccinations. There are some other members of the NBA community working on court who are older and will have a higher priority to get the vaccine.”

theGrio reported many Americans are growing frustrated with the COVID-10 vaccine rollout process. The government assured that 20 million Americans would be vaccinated by the end of December however, as the year came to a close, vaccines only reached 20% of this number.

“This is such an important point and one where each state and each county left alone as an island is a setup for an unmitigated disaster, inequitable delivery and inefficiency that could lead to more preventable deaths and hospitalizations,” said Dr. Sadiya Khan according to the report.

“The lack of an infrastructure for a vaccine that we’ve literally been planning and known was coming for months is wholeheartedly disappointing.”

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