Spotify’s Joe Rogan has repeatedly spread the baseless claim that the Biden administration is trying to stop people from receiving monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment, “because it discourages people from getting vaccinated.” He has also repeatedly lied that the mRNA coronavirus vaccines are “not a vaccine” but “essentially a gene therapy.”
As COVID-19 cases rose sharply at the end of August, the Biden administration ordered more monoclonal antibody treatments in September to ward off a potential shortage. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services took over the distribution of the treatment in order to stave off shortages and ensure states were allocated equitable amounts. On September 13, the agency announced the changes to the distribution process, stating, “The increased incidence of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2 has caused a substantial surge in the utilization of monoclonal antibody (mAb) drugs, particularly in areas of the country with low vaccination rates. HHS is committed to helping ensure consistent availability of these critical drugs for current and future patients in all geographic areas of the country.”
Nonetheless, Rogan distorted the facts around monoclonal antibodies to attack the Biden administration and spread medical misinformation about COVID-19 vaccines.
The Joe Rogan Experience is broadcast exclusively on Spotify and was the most popular podcast on the platform in 2020. As The Washington Post has noted, “With an estimated 11 million listeners per episode, Rogan reaches nearly four times as many people as prime-time cable hosts such as Sean Hannity of Fox News Channel and Rachel Maddow of MSNBC.” Rogan has frequently used his platform to espouse COVID-19 misinformation.
Rogan has repeatedly lied that the federal government is trying to stop people from receiving monoclonal antibody treatments and that mRNA vaccines are “gene therapy”
During the November 8 edition of his show, Rogan baselessly asserted, “It’s not like there is a … supply problem with monoclonal antibodies. It’s the government actually trying to restrict people’s access to it.”
Rogan also spread misinformation about monoclonal antibodies with right-wing pundit Ben Shapiro during the November 10 edition of his Spotify podcast. Shapiro attributed the government’s move to federalize the treatment’s supply chain as an effort “to punish Florida.” Rogan added, “It's not just trying to punish Florida, it’s trying to make it far more difficult to get this stuff because it discourages people from getting vaccinated.”
During the September 23 edition of his podcast, Rogan also twisted the facts around the treatment, saying, “The thing is they don’t want to encourage anything that could potentially discourage vaccine or cause vaccine hesitancy.