Podcast mogul Joe Rogan said he is not anti-vaccine and that he tried to receive a COVID-19 vaccine in Las Vegas several months ago but missed the appointment due to scheduling conflicts.
Rogan, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, has played down the need for mass vaccinations for big events like comedy shows earlier in the year. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN’s chief medical correspondent, hosted on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, on Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus and vaccines.
Based on his experience of acquiring COVID-19 and recovering in a healthy way, Rogan said, the way a person carries the antibodies doesn’t have to be opposing — from natural immunity or via a vaccine — and it can be both.
“It would be better to catch the virus and recover and have amazing immunity,” Rogan said on the podcast. “You know what I think you should do? I think you should get vaccinated and then get sick. Here’s why: Because then you get the vaccine it protects you from a bad infection and then you get COVID, and so you get a strong immunity from transmitting the actual disease itself” .
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The COVID-19 vaccine has been scientifically proven to be the best possible way to slow COVID-19 and the CDC recommends getting the vaccine. According to information provided by the Kaiser Family Foundation, there were more than 90,000 preventable COVID-19 deaths in the United States among unvaccinated adults and the virus was the leading cause of death in the country in September.
“I’m not an anti-extremist,” Rogan said in April in his podcast, but “I just said, ‘I don’t think if you’re young and healthy, you need it.'” At the time, he added, he was due to get the Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccine, courtesy of the UFC, but by the time he went to reschedule that vaccine, federal health authorities had paused.
Gupta, who joined Rogan’s three-hour podcast in an effort to reach Rogan’s audience about the seriousness of receiving vaccinations, responded to Rogan and said it was “not a strategy to recommend people get infected.”
Rogan told Gupta that this was never his intention, but more so to honor multiple aspects of the equation. Rogan criticized CNN as “dangerous” for taking the COVID-19 treatment regimen out of context and “lied about my taking equine medication.” His stance mirrors previous public statements about CNN when he threatened to sue the network.
To treat his symptoms, the 54-year-old said on Instagram he turned to the drug ivermectin, among other unproven treatments. He also said he took monoclonal antibodies, which have been shown to be effective.
Ivermectin is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by people and animals to treat parasitic infections, especially in cattle. The use of any COVID-19 treatment not approved or authorized by the Food and Drug Administration, unless part of a clinical trial, “could cause significant harm,” the agency said on its website.
Gupta is not the first to resist Rogan’s views. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top expert on infectious diseases, criticized Rogan’s stance on vaccines in April. Gupta honored Rogan’s position, though he disagreed, in a separate column on CNN.
“I think a small part of me thought I might change Joe Rogan’s mind about vaccines,” he wrote. “After this last exchange, I realized it was probably useless. A decision has been made, and there will always be a lot of meticulously pieced together misinformation to back up his convictions.”
Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, was launched in 2009 and has become one of the most popular podcasts in the country ever since. In 2020, Spotify acquired the Rogan podcast library for a $100 million deal.