Dr. Anthony Fauci says popular podcast host Joe Rogan is "incorrect" in recently saying he would advise healthy young people against getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The chief medical advisor to President Joe Biden reacted on TODAY Wednesday to comments made by Rogan on the April 23 edition of his Spotify podcast, "The Joe Rogan Experience," in which he said, "If you're like 21 years old, and you say to me, 'Should I get vaccinated?' I'll go, 'No.'"
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"Well that's incorrect, and the reason why is you're talking about yourself in a vacuum then," Fauci told Savannah Guthrie. "You're worried about yourself getting infected and the likelihood that you're not gonna get any symptoms.
"But you can get infected and will get infected if you put yourself at risk. And even if you don't have any symptoms, you're propagating the outbreak because it is likely that you — even if you have no symptoms — 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 he believes it's "safe to get vaccinated," but if someone was a healthy 21-year-old who exercises and eats right, he would say it's not necessary to get vaccinated.
But Fauci said they should "absolutely" get vaccinated and countered that it's about more than just one person because they risk spreading the coronavirus to others.
"So if you want to only worry about yourself and not society, then that's OK," Fauci said. "But if you're saying to yourself, 'Even if I get infected, I could do damage to somebody else, even if I have no symptoms at all,' and that's the reason why you've got to be careful and get vaccinated."
Rogan also noted on the episode that his two young daughters contracted COVID-19 but had mild cases.
"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," Rogan said. "But I'm saying the personal experience that my children had with COVID was nothing."
For adults who are vaccinated, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidance on wearing face masks outdoors on Tuesday, saying people don't have to put them on while walking, running, biking or hiking, or with members of their households or in small gatherings. Masks are still recommended in large outdoor crowds at places like sports venues or concerts.
"It means that we're going in the right direction," Fauci said about the relaxed rules. "... The thing that's become clear, just from the scientific evidence, that the risk of getting infected if you are vaccinated and outdoors is extremely low, I mean minisculely low, and that's the reason why the CDC has now come out and made these kinds of recommendations, making it much more flexible for people who are vaccinated to get out and enjoy the outdoors."
Fauci predicted that many high school kids would likely be vaccinated by the time the new school year starts in the fall, and children of all ages would be vaccinated by the end of the year. Most states currently have vaccination appointments open to everyone 16 and older.
He still recommended that children wear masks in public before they get vaccinated.
"They are more at risk of getting infected because they are out in the community, where there is a lot of infection," he said. "When the community level starts to go way down, the risks to everybody, including the children, is going to be dramatically diminished."