Is Joe Rogan wrong that young, healthy people don't need COVID vaccine?


Fact Box

  • As of Thursday, April 29, 2021, there have been 32.9 million coronavirus cases in the United States, with 588.3 thousand reported deaths. 
  • According to the CDC, 234,639,414 COVID vaccines have been administered to the US population. Almost half of the population has at least one dose, while 29.5% are fully vaccinated. Close to 90% of those 65 and older have one dose while 68% are completely vaccinated.
  • On Tuesday, April 27, the CDC eased guidelines on mask-wearing, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t have to wear masks unless they are in large crowds or in indoor public settings. Both parties can “walk, run, roll, or bike” outdoors with household members.
  • Joe Rogan is an American comedian, was a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, and host of his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience,”
  • In episode #1639 with guest Dave Smith, host Joe Rogan said, “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, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”

Kevin (Yes)

As with other COVID precautions, getting vaccinated is as much about protecting others as it is about protecting oneself. It will also help us achieve herd immunity more quickly if more people are vaccinated, which would allow everyone to worry less about such precautions. The WHO estimates '65 to 70 percent of a given population' needs to vaccinate to cease the spread of the virus. The sooner the spread can be contained, the better the chances that a vaccine-resistant mutation can be avoided. Counting on post-infection immunity isn't an option, and not just because of the obvious risk to life and health from the initial infection. Even those who have been infected and come through with no issues should be vaccinated, as immunity after experiencing a COVID infection has been found to be 'unpredictable,' and not everyone who gets infected develops such immunity.

When asked about Rogan's comments, Dr. Fauci said that those of any age who refuse vaccination are putting themselves and others at risk and 'propagating the outbreak,' giving a reminder that infected people who show no symptoms could still 'inadvertently' spread the virus. Although older individuals and those with underlying conditions are at the most risk, numbers from the CDC show that there have been more infections among the 18-29 age groups than any other. Even young people have died from infections. It is especially troubling for someone like Joe Rogan with such a large platform to be spreading such misinformation when he clearly doesn't know what he's talking about here.

Stephanie (No)

Joe Rogan was not wrong that young, healthy people do not necessarily need to get the COVID vaccine. By now, it is common knowledge that elderly persons and those with compromised immune systems are most susceptible to severe cases of COVID that may lead to death. Yet, as Rogan mentioned, young people who are 'exercising all the time' and 'eating well' should not be overly worried.

The fact that the vaccine is new and developed in under one year compared to 10-15 years is an issue for those concerned about unknown potential long-term side effects. Admittedly, it is not even FDA approved, so in the case of a young person in good health who likely only risks enduring mild symptoms of the virus, it may be less risky to opt out of getting vaccinated. Of course, individuals who do not immediately get the vaccine and develop an underlying illness later in life can always get it at that time, so long as it is still proven to be safe and effective.

Despite Dr. Fauci claiming the theory is selfish, Rogan cannot be considered wrong on this issue since getting the vaccine or not getting it is a very personal choice, aligning with his libertarian views. Those who are most worried about COVID-19 can simply get the vaccine themselves and have peace of mind feeling protected. Regarding the criticisms towards the commentator's advice, it is notable that before saying anything about not getting vaccinated, Rogan was very clear that vulnerable populations absolutely should receive the vaccine and that he believes 'for the most part' it is safe to do so.

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