White House staffers criticized comedian and podcast host Joe Rogan on Wednesday after he discouraged his younger audience members from receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Rogan gave his input regarding the vaccine on his popular podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, which ranks as the most streamed talk show on Spotify.
“If you’re like 21 years old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go, ‘No,’” Rogan said. “If you’re a healthy person and you’re exercising all the time and you’re young and you’re eating well, I don’t think you need to worry about this.”
He added that the coronavirus does not pose a statistical threat to children.
“I can tell you as someone who has — both my children got the virus. It was nothing,” Rogan said.
Asked about Rogan’s comments, White House communications director Kate Bedingfield accused the comedian and cage fighting commentator of weighing in on a serious public health matter without being informed on the science.
“I guess my first question would be, did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” Bedingfield told CNN on Wednesday. “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.”
Rogan has repeatedly criticized public health officials since the pandemic began for failing to communicate the importance of maintaining a healthy immune system through a good diet and exercise — and instead focusing exclusively on measures social distancing and mask-wearing.
Rogan’s statement coincides closely with the release of updated guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which partly aimed to incentivize and encourage vaccination by relaxing mask mandates for vaccinated Americans.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, believes Rogan’s suggestion is counterproductive to public health and the national mission to stop outbreaks and eradicate the disease.
Speaking to NBC’s “Today” show, Fauci said, “Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak.”
“You’re talking about yourself in a vacuum,” Fauci said in reference to Rogan. “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.”