“I guess my first question would be: Did Joe Rogan become a medical doctor while we weren’t looking?” White House communications director Kate Bedingfield told CNN during what became a tag-team takedown.
The Jersey-born comedian and popular podcast host – who also calls televised Ultimate Fighting Championship matches -- delivered his advisory on “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Spotify’s most popular podcast.
“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."
Rogan’s remarks – which, like his outrageous reactions to recent UFC knockouts -- went viral.
They also stung the Biden Administration, which already was having trouble persuading mostly conservative young Americans to get their shots.
Both his spokesperson and Fauci jabbed back early 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,” Bedingfield said.
Data shows that those who are “most influential” in convincing others to get vaccinated are “their friends, their neighbors, people who have received the shot themselves who they know and they trust,” she added.
Fauci also weighed in (no pun intended).
“If you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that’s OK,” he said on NBC’s “Today” show.
"You're talking about yourself in a vacuum," said Fauci, said, the nation’s top infectious disease expert and President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser. "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,” he said.
“Even if you don’t have any symptoms, you are propagating the outbreak,” Fauci said. “It’s likely that you…may inadvertently and innocently then infect someone else, who might infect someone who really could have a problem with a severe outcome.”
Rogan said, to him, it comes down to the question: “Are you healthy?”
“Like, look, don't do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself,” he added.
He also said that COVID isn’t “statistically dangerous for children.”
“Both my children got the virus. It was nothing,” said Rogan, whose own father had been a Newark police officer.
“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," he added. "But I'm saying the personal experience that my children had with COVID was nothing.”
The numbers of those willing or having already gotten the vaccine are increasing, polls show.
An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in March put the figure at 75%.
Meanwhile, a Monmouth (NJ) University poll reported 21% of Americans saying they wouldn’t get the vaccine, down from 24% in January and March.
The Biden Administration says herd immunity can be reached if 80% of Americans get the vaccine.
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