AUSTIN (KXAN) — The nation’s leading infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci is asking popular podcast host Joe Rogan to walk back his comments saying healthy young people do not need to get vaccinated for COVID-19.
Fauci says you can’t think of this virus in a vacuum as if when you get the virus you’ll be asymptomatic and can’t infect others, including those more at risk.
“You’re worried about yourself 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,” Fauci said during a live interview Wednesday on NBC’s “Today” show.
Fauci said young people should absolutely get vaccinated, and Americans should strive to get as many people vaccinated as possible.
Joe Rogan, who moved to Austin last fall from California, is very influential with one of the country’s most popular podcasts, “The Joe Rogan Experience.” During his April 23 Spotify podcast, Rogan said vulnerable people should get the vaccine but he would not recommend a healthy 21-year-old get the vaccine.
“People say, ‘Do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated?'” Rogan said. “Yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated. I do, I do. But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go no.”
“Are you healthy?” Rogan said on the podcast. “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.”
That goes against the advice of most public health officials and doctors. Fauci explained how asymptomatic young people could “inadvertently and innocently” spread the virus.
More than 42% of all Americans are at least partially vaccinated as of April 27, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Nearly 30% of all Americans are fully vaccinated. Public health officials have said we may need as many as 70% of all Americans fully vaccinated to reach a point where the population at large would be immune — herd immunity.
Rogan canceled podcasts last October when his producer tested positive for COVID-19. Rogan said he tested negative. He said Friday that his children did also catch COVID-19 at some point.
“Both my children got the virus, it was nothing,” Rogan said. “I hate to say that if someone’s children died from this. I’m very sorry that that happened. I’m not in any way diminishing that, but I’m saying the personal experience that my children had with COVID was nothing.”
IN-DEPTH: Young adults already not getting vaccinated in Austin
COVID-19 numbers are falling in the Austin area, but interim Austin Health Authority Dr. Mark Escott did say there is one area where Austin is not doing well.
Data shows 20-29 year-olds are not only unvaccinated, but purposefully so, Escott said. That’s despite appointments for vaccinations being open to most Americans ages 16 and older.
“We have seen week after week increase in hospitalizations in those age groups,” said Escott said.