Today a clip from the Joe Rogan Experience, with Joe Rogan suggesting young, healthy people didn’t need to get vaccinated against COVID-19, went viral on social media. Here’s what he said…
“I think you should get vaccinated if you’re vulnerable,” he said. “I think you should get vaccinated if you feel like — my parents are vaccinated. I’ve encouraged a lot of people to get — and 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.
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“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? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. You should — 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 Rogan is wrong. The reality is, COVID affects everyone, and doesn’t discriminate with age. Children and teens typically experience milder symptoms, but many young people — healthy people — have reported not only extreme symptoms, but long lasting impacts on health as they recover from the virus. Ironically, even in mixed martial arts, the sport for which Rogan famously provides commentary, multiple young competitors have been laid out for months during difficult recoveries for COVID.
The clip has been doing the rounds on social media today, but the comments were actually made 4 days ago — during a podcast, recorded with libertarian comedian and political commentator Dave Smith, published on April 24.
Spotify, who hosted the podcast did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but Spotify has removed content for spreading COVID-19 misinformation in the past, most notably removing podcaster Pete Evans from the service.
But Rogan’s comments are part of a long standing cynicism towards scientifically established health advice regarding COVID-19. Rogan has questioned the use of masks, promoted the use of hydroxychloroquine as a COVID remedy on his show. He’s also regularly brought on guests to discuss the use of Vitamin D in helping ease COVID-19 symptoms. Joe Rogan has also come under fire in the past for lending his massive platform to controversial voices like Alex Jones.
Most famously, comedian Bill Burr, jokingly shut down discussion of masks when Joe Rogan brought it up.
In response to Rogan’s comments, many on Twitter have called out Rogan for promoting what is essentially an anti-vaccination message for many of his listeners, who skew young and male.
Media Matters, a left-leaning watchdog designed to monitor and scrutinize right-wing media outlets, called out Rogan for promoting misinformation.
Rogan is one of the most influential podcast hosts in the world. His show is broadcast exclusively on Spotify and is the most popular podcast on the platform. He has frequently used his podcast to spread conspiracy theories, espouse dangerous COVID-19 misinformation, and attack trans people.
US Public Health officials believe the US needs 70% of its population to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to create herd immunity. Young children make up the smallest percentage of Americans testing positive for COVID-19, but adults in the 18-29 range — which Rogan refers to — make up a significant amount of the COVID-19 cases the US, over 20% to be precise. Current advice from the World Health Organization states that COVID vaccines are safe and recommended for those over 18.