Podcast mogul Joe Rogan said he isn’t anti-vaccine and that he attempted to receive the COVID-19 vaccination in Las Vegas several months ago but missed the appointment due to scheduling conflicts.
Rogan, who tested positive for COVID-19 last month, had downplayed the need for mass vaccines for large events like comedy shows earlier in the year. He hosted CNN Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, on his podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, Wednesday to discuss the coronavirus and vaccines.
Rogan said based on his experience of getting COVID-19 and recovering in a healthy fashion, the method of a person carrying antibodies doesn’t have to be mutually exclusive – from natural immunity or via the vaccine – and it could be both.
“It would be better to get 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. This is why: because then you got the vaccine protects you from a bad infection and then you get COVID so then you get the robust immunity that’s imparted from having the actual disease itself.”
The COVID-19 vaccine has been scientifically proven as the best possible method to slow COVID-19 and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends Americans receive the vaccine. According to information provided by Kaiser Family Foundation, there have been more than 90,000 preventable COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. among unvaccinated adults and the virus was the nation’s leading cause of death in September.
Rogan said in April on his podcast, “I’m not an anti-vax person,” but “I just said, I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person, that you need it.” He added at that time, he was scheduled for a Johnson & Johnson COVID vaccination, courtesy of UFC, but by the time he went to reschedule, federal health authorities paused that vaccine.
Gupta, who joined Rogan’s podcast for three hours in an effort to reach Rogan’s audience about the seriousness of receiving vaccinations, pushed back at Rogan and said it’s “not a strategy to recommend people get infected.”
Rogan told Gupta that was never his intent, but more so to honor multiple sides of the equation. Rogan criticized CNN as “dangerous” for taking his COVID-19 treatment regimen out of context and “lying about me taking horse 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 medicine ivermectin, among other unproven treatments. He also said he took monoclonal antibodies, which have been proven to work.
Ivermectin has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use by people and animals to treat parasitic infections, primarily in livestock. Using any treatment for COVID-19 that’s not approved or authorized by the FDA, unless part of a clinical trial, “can cause serious harm,” the agency said on its website.
Gupta isn’t the first to push back against Rogan’s views. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top-ranking expert on infectious diseases, criticized Rogan’s stance on vaccines back in April. Gupta honored Rogan’s stance, despite disagreeing, in a separate column on CNN.
“I guess 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 futile. His mind was made up, and there would always be plenty of misinformation out there neatly packaged to support his convictions.”
Rogan’s podcast, The Joe Rogan Experience, launched in 2009 and has become one of the most popular podcasts in the country since. In 2020, Spotify acquired Rogan’s podcast library for a reported $100 million deal.