Joe Rogan tried to clear the air over his controversial statements encouraging young people to not get vaccinated for COVID-19.
In Thursday’s episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” which is available exclusively on Spotify, the hugely popular podcaster maintained that he is not an anti-vaxxer — and conceded that even young people should get vaccinated in the interests of public health.
“I’m not an anti-vax person. In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take ’em,” Rogan said in the episode in a conversation with comedian Andrew Santino. “I just said, I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person, that you need it.”
Critics — including Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S.’s top infectious disease expert — called him out for that remark, pointing out that getting vaccinated is important to stop the spread of the virus. On Thursday, Rogan said he sees the point: “Their argument was, you need [the vaccine] for other people… That makes more sense.”
Rogan said that “when I say something stupid, I’m not thinking about what I’m going to say before I say it.” At another point, he said, “I’m not a doctor, I’m a fucking moron, and I’m a cage-fighting commentator who’s a dirty stand-up comedian… I’m not a respected source of information — even for me.”
Rogan also revealed that he nearly got the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine. The UFC had allocated a certain number of shots for employees and offered one to Rogan. But Rogan said he had to reschedule the shot, and before he could get it, U.S. health authorities paused the J&J vaccine.
On the April 23 episode of the podcast, Rogan had said, “If you’re, like, 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I’ll go no… 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.”
After Rogan’s comments on the podcast went viral, he drew fire from critics and health officials for spreading dangerous misinformation. Fauci, on NBC’s “Today” show Wednesday, pointed out that not only can young people contract and die from COVID-19, they can spread it to others and that the disease can be deadly.
“If you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s okay,” Fauci said. But people should realized that “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.”
UFC had allocated a certain number of vaccines for employees.
“The Joe Rogan Experience” is currently the No. 1 podcast on Spotify in the U.S., On Wednesday, Spotify said in its Q1 earnings announcement that Rogan’s show performed above expectations with respect to new user additions and engagement for the period.
In the past Spotify has removed multiple episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” from its platform since on-boarding it last September, including past segments with various right-wing guests. In the case of Rogan’s recommendation that healthy young people not get vaccinated, Spotify left that up — after the audio streamer that the host did not explicitly tell people to not get vaccinated.
Full episodes of “The Joe Rogan Experience” are exclusive to Spotify and clips from the show are posted to YouTube.