NBA: Steven Adams' New Orleans Pelicans jump COVID-19 vaccine queue through comical loophole

Members of Steven Adams' New Orleans Pelicans have received their first doses of their COVID-19 vaccinations, after the eligibility criteria for Louisiana residents were changed.

The Pelicans have become the first NBA team to receive their first doses of the vaccine, administered on Sunday (NZ time), but the identities of players treated have not been disclosed.

Eligibility criteria for the vaccine in Louisiana have swung in favour of the Pelicans, with anyone returning a body mass index (BMI) of more than 25 now considered high risk. BMI only takes into account height and weight, rather than someone's physical condition.

NBA players have an average BMI of 24.63, so the Pelicans squad have jumped the queue, despite being in outstanding physical condition. At 2.12m and 120kg, Adams registers a BMI of 27.05.

Despite the mix-up, coach Stan Van Gundy hopes the Pelicans will serve as an example for others in the New Orleans community to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.

"In my opinion, the more people we can encourage to get vaccinated, the better off all of us are going to be," Van Gundy says. 

"It seems to me, it's really our only way to get past this whole experience with COVID, and be able to open up more and to keep people safe.

"Hopefully, we can participate in promoting people getting the vaccine when it's available to them, because I think it's our way out of this whole thing."

The NBA has had more than 100 players test positive for COVID-19 this season alone, with Adams also involved in the first known case - Utah Jazz centre Rudy Gobert tested positive before his match against the Kiwi's Oklahoma City Thunder last March.