Joe Rogan has had some categorically inaccurate and incorrect takes on the COVID-19 pandemic and vaccines over the past year, but this time the UFC analyst has drawn the attention of Dr. Anthony Fauci.
On the April 23rd episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, Rogan told fellow comedian Dave Smith that he doesn’t believe young people shouldn’t get vaccinated.
“People say, do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated? I’ve said, yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do. I do,” Rogan said (transcription via CNN). “But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no. Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person?”
“If you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well,” Rogan continued, “like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
Rogan also added that his children contracted the virus but that their symptoms were not severe.
Infectious diseases specialist and Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci was asked about Rogan’s comments on NBC’s TODAY show.
“Well that’s incorrect, and the reason why is you’re talking about yourself in a vacuum then,” Fauci told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie. “You’re worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you’re not gonna 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’re propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — that you may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome.”
New data shows that more young people are being hospitalized due to COVID-19 in recent weeks, as the more infectious B.1.1.7 has become the dominant strain of the virus. Most American senior citizens (aged 65 and up) have been vaccinated, so their hospitalizations are down, aka the vaccines work.
“So if you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s okay,” Fauci said. “But if you’re saying to yourself, even if I get infected, I could do damage to somebody else even if I have no symptoms at all, and that’s the reason why you’ve got to be careful and get vaccinated.”
As far as the already debunked “if you’re young and healthy, you shouldn’t need the vaccine” line, Rogan needn’t look beyond the UFC roster for examples of how COVID can affect anyone. Welterweight prospect Khamzat Chimaev briefly pondered retirement at just 26 years old after his COVID battle, Reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, aged 32, described his scary COVID experience earlier this month. Former bantamweight champion Cody Garbrandt is a COVID long-hauler and he’s only 29.
Outside the UFC, 22-year-old NBA star Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics now uses an inhaler before games after he missed several games due to the virus. Former women’s college basketball star and WNBA player Asia Durr is a COVID long-hauler and may not even play this season. Just a few months ago, COVID complications ended the college football career of Clemson’s Justin Foster.
All of this is to say that Rogan’s comments are easily disprovable (as Dr. Fauci already outlined) and given his massive audience, quite dangerous to disseminate.