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Spotify's Joe Rogan says 'healthy' young people don't need to worry about getting COVID-19 vaccine

Spotify podcast host Joe Rogan said last week that “healthy” young people don’t need to worry about getting the COVID-19 vaccine, countering health experts’ recommendations.

On his show “The Joe Rogan Experience,” the podcast host urged people to get vaccinated “if you’re vulnerable” saying he thinks “for the most part it’s safe.” But Rogan said if a 21-year-old asks him if they should get the vaccine, “I’ll go, ‘No.’”

“Are you healthy?” he said in his April 23 podcast. “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.”

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Rogan’s advice directly contradicts health experts, who have called on all people above age 16 to get the vaccine to curb the spread of the virus across the U.S., especially among vulnerable populations. 

So far, almost 140 million American adults have gotten at least one shot, amounting to 54 percent of the population. More than 96 million, or 37 percent of adults, are fully vaccinated, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.  

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But public health officials have said the U.S. needs to reach more than 70 percent to get to a point where the population is considered immune to the virus that has disrupted American life for more than a year. 

Rogan’s remarks come as the U.S. faces a tipping point in its vaccination effort between enthusiastic Americans who have already gotten the jab versus those who are more hesitant or don’t have access to the shot. 

The host, whose podcast has been among the most popular on Spotify, said that parents are worried about potential requirements for children to get vaccinated, arguing that COVID-19 is not “statistically dangerous for children.”

“I can tell you as someone who has — both my children got the virus. It was nothing,” he said. “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.”

“It's amazing that that's controversial — that even saying that, I'm not going to inject my child with the vaccine, is controversial,” he added later.

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“We’re talking about something that is not statistically dangerous for children,” Rogan said. “But yet people still want you to get your child vaccinated, which is crazy to me.”

There are no current mandates for children to get the vaccine as the U.S.’s Food and Drug Administration has only given emergency approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for those 16 and older and to the Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines for those 18 and older. 

Some of the vaccine manufacturers have started or conducted vaccine trials to ensure the safety for infants and teenagers, with the goal of getting the vaccine approved for younger Americans.

While young people have lower death rates than older adults, more young people have been hospitalized recently as variants spread across the U.S., according to CNN. The CDC documents that more than 400 children have died from the virus. 

Media Matters for America first reported Rogan’s comments on Tuesday. 

Spotify did not immediately return The Hill’s request for comment. The company previously defended Rogan last year for hosting conspiracy theorist Alex Jones on his podcast, saying ”It’s important to have diverse voices and points of view on our platform.”

Sen. Ron JohnsonRonald (Ron) Harold JohnsonOvernight Health Care: WHO-backed Covax gets a boost from Moderna Vaccine hesitancy among lawmakers slows return to normalcy on Capitol Hill FBI was aware Giuliani was a target of a Russian influence campaign ahead of 2020 election: report MORE (R-Wis.) also faced backlash last week for questioning the “big push” to vaccinate “everybody,” saying the government “probably should have limited the distribution” to vulnerable populations. 

Top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciCDC director: Vaccinated adolescents can remove masks outdoors at summer camps The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Emergent BioSolutions - Facebook upholds Trump ban; GOP leaders back Stefanik to replace Cheney Overnight Health Care: Biden backs COVID-19 vaccine patent waivers | Moderna reports positive early results for booster shots against COVID-19 variants | Federal judge vacates CDC's eviction moratorium MORE countered Johnson’s remarks, saying “there’s a pretty good reason” for the federal government’s push in that “we are dealing with an emergency.”