Joe Rogan, the comedian and mixed martial arts TV host, has been criticised by The White House and Dr Anthony Fauci after he told thousands of listeners to his podcast to skip the Covid-19 vaccine if they are young and healthy.
The 53-year-old told his Spotify podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, that a “healthy” 21-year-old had no need of the vaccine.
He said: “...if you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
But his off-hand comments have been met with swift rebuttals from US political and health leaders.
Kate Bedingfield, the communications director at The White House, told CNN that Rogan lacked medical credentials but that his comments could make some people “question” taking the potentially life-saving shot during the pandemic.
Speaking to CNN’s New Day, she said: “I guess my first question would be, did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking? I’m not sure that taking scientific and medical advice from Joe Rogan is perhaps the most productive way for people to get their information.”
She added: “I think what we’re seeing, and what we have seen in the data and what we’ve seen as people continue to get vaccinated, is the people who are most influential in encouraging people to get vaccinated are their friends, their neighbours, people who have received the shot themselves who they know and they trust. And so, what we see is the number of people who say that they are willing to get vaccinated is rising. It’s now up to, I believe, 67 percent in a recent public poll.”
In response to a question about Mr Rogan’s comments, Dr Anthony Fauci, head of the US’s coronavirus response, told NBC on Wednesday: “That’s incorrect. You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum. You’re worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you’re not going to get any symptoms. But you can get infected, and will get infected, if you put yourself at risk and even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak.”
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