NBA Legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Urges the Public to Get COVID-19 Vaccine in New PSA

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was known for making buckets during his NBA career, and at 73, he's still scoring shots.

The Hall of Famer stars in a new video from the NBA that shows him receiving the first of two COVID-19 vaccinations. In the PSA, Abdul-Jabbar delivers a short message that explains why he opted to get the vaccine, which is available in California and other states for people who are age 65 and older.

"Because of the COVID-19 virus, we've had to find new ways to be together, we've had to find new ways to communicate, we had to find new ways to play and we have to find new ways to keep each other safe," says Abdul-Jabbar, who won six NBA championships during his time with the Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks.

"For myself and my family, I am going to take the COVID-19 vaccine," the basketball legend continues. "To learn more about the vaccines, go to Let's do this together."

The PSA was released on YouTube ahead of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when the NBA will debut the video for television audiences during its scheduled games.

As of Monday afternoon, nearly 24 million Americans have been infected by coronavirus since the start of the pandemic early last year. According to a New York Times database, 397,612 others have died from the illness so far, with 1,730 of those deaths occurring on Sunday alone.

Each of the two COVID-19 vaccines (provided by either Pfizer and Moderna) will require two dosages to be fully effective. For the vaccine provided by Pfizer, recipients will have to return three weeks later to receive their final dose, while Moderna requires recipients to wait four weeks.

Each of the vaccines requires a wait time to reach its peak effectiveness, which is thought to be about two weeks after the second dose.

But even after receiving the vaccine, it is recommended that recipients continue to social distance and wear face masks.

"There's still a question of if the vaccine stops transmission of COVID, or just stops people from getting symptomatic COVID," infectious disease clinical researcher Laurel Bristow told PEOPLE earlier this month. "That's something that is being looked at right now, so we want to operate under the assumption, just out of pure safety, that vaccinated people could still get asymptomatic COVID and spread it to others."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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