Spotify’s Joe Rogan encourages “healthy” 21-year-olds not to get a coronavirus vaccine

On the April 23 edition of his Spotify podcast, Joe Rogan encouraged healthy young people not to get a COVID-19 vaccine, saying, “If you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, should I get vaccinated? I'll go no.” 

Experts estimate that in order to achieve herd immunity, society may need to get to a critical mass of 70% to 90% of people vaccinated.

Rogan is one of the most influential podcast hosts in the world. His show is broadcast exclusively on Spotify and is the most popular podcast on the platform. He has frequently used his podcast to spread conspiracy theories, espouse dangerous COVID-19 misinformation, and attack trans people.

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Citation From the April 23, 2021, edition of Spotify's The Joe Rogan Experience

JOE ROGAN (HOST): I think you should get vaccinated if you're vulnerable. I think you should get vaccinated if you feel like -- my parents are vaccinated. I’ve encouraged a lot of people to get -- and people say, do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated? I’ve 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? 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.

DAVE SMITH (COMEDIAN): Yeah. I tend to agree with you.

ROGAN: But there's a lot of jobs that will tell you you need to have this. 

SMITH: Well that’s what’s starting to happen at --

ROGAN: People are worried about them doing it for their children. And we talked about this earlier, that you might have to have your children vaccinated. And, you know, I can tell you as someone who has -- both my children got the virus. It was nothing. I mean, 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. One of the kids had a headache. The other one didn't feel good for a couple of days. And I mean not feel good, like, no big deal. No coughing, no achey, no like in agony. There was none of that. It was very mild. It was akin to them getting a cold.

SMITH: Look, my daughter is a lot younger than your kids, but I'm like, yeah, I’m not injecting my daughter with something to fucking virtue signal. Like, I’m not doing that. If there’s something that she’s of no risk, statistically has no risk from, I'm sorry. I'm not taking any experiment on her. And that’s my attitude toward it.

ROGAN: But it's amazing that that's controversial. That even saying that, I'm not going to inject my child with the vaccine, is controversial. It’s crazy. Because again, we are not talking about even the flu that we just found out killed 22,000 people last year. We're not talking about that. We’re talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children. But yet people still want you to get your child vaccinated, which is crazy to me. Like you should be vaccinated if you are vulnerable. You should. 

The Food and Drug Administration has not yet approved any coronavirus vaccine for children under 16. Pfizer's vaccine has been approved for people older than 16, and Moderna's has been approved for those who are at least 18 years old. Notably, coronavirus vaccine trials on infants and teenagers have begun, “in what scientists say is a crucial step toward controlling the pandemic.” Despite this, Rogan said that vaccinating children was “crazy,” and his guest, comedian Dave Smith, called it an “experiment.” Rogan also claimed of COVID-19, “We’re talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children.”

According to data from the American Academy of Pediatrics and Children’s Hospital Association, 296 children have died of COVID-19 in the U.S. as of April 22.