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Health experts were quick to correct Joe Rogan’s recent statements suggesting that young healthy people don’t need the COVID-19 vaccine. Michael S. Schwartz / Getty Images
  • Popular podcaster Joe Rogan recently told his listeners that young people in good health should skip getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • Numerous health officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were quick to point out that younger, healthier people can easily contract and transmit the coronavirus.
  • Mild COVID-19, even in younger people, can lead to long-term symptoms that last for months.
  • To achieve herd immunity and effectively end the COVID-19 pandemic, health officials say it’s essential for all eligible people to get vaccinated.

All data and statistics are based on publicly available data at the time of publication. Some information may be out of date.

Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan recently advised his younger fans not to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they’re in good health.

Health experts and officials, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were quick to scrutinize Rogan’s remarks, saying his comments were incorrect and that even young healthy people could contract an infection and transmit the coronavirus to other people in their communities.

Good underlying health does not guarantee you won’t get seriously ill with COVID-19 or even get a mild infection that transforms into long-haul symptoms.

Study after study, however, has shown that COVID-19 vaccines essentially eliminate the risk of hospitalization and death, and reduce chances of transmission if people do contract an infection after vaccination.

If you don’t want to protect yourself against COVID-19, do it for other people, experts advise.

The quicker more people get vaccinated, the sooner we’ll reach herd immunity and get some normalcy back.

During his podcast, Rogan said young healthy people in their 20s didn’t need to worry about COVID-19.

“If you’re like 21 years old and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go, ‘No.’ 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 said on his podcast.

Even though hospitalizations and deaths have been highest among older adults and people with underlying health conditions, younger people — even those in good health — have contracted the infection and gotten seriously ill.

“While it is true the 21-year-olds are at low risk for serious disease, hospitalization, or death from COVID-19, it is non-zero,” said Dr. Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security and an infectious disease expert.

Many younger people have underlying conditions, like asthma, diabetes, and obesity, that put them at increased risk for complications, hospitalization, and death.

Furthermore, even if someone fares well from the infection itself, some go on to develop long-haul symptoms that can have a devastating impact on a person’s quality of life.

While many young people “will fare well, COVID-19 is not something anybody should want to contract not only for the acute symptoms and disruption to your life, but also because there is a risk that persistent long-haul symptoms could occur,” Adalja said.

Rogan also suggested that a healthy diet and regular exercise could act as ammo against COVID-19, but again, these claims are misleading.

There’s a theoretical benefit of having underlying good health, but we have actual evidence showing that the vaccines reduce the risk of contracting an infection, being hospitalized, and dying.

“You’d rather go with what’s been proven to work than bank on exercise and diet, which, of course, are good for your general health but don’t provide a guarantee against COVID,” said Dr. Lucy McBride, a practicing internal medicine physician in Washington, D.C.

Younger people with a coronavirus infection, especially those who don’t have symptoms, can bring COVID-19 into their communities and transmit the coronavirus to at-risk people.

“The main driver of the pandemic has been community spread by people who don’t have symptoms,” McBride said. “That’s the reason we’re in a pandemic.”

The coronavirus has a lengthy incubation period of up to 14 days, during which time the virus quietly takes up residency in your cells and creates an infection. It’s not until after the incubation period that symptoms show up.

Because of this long incubation period, people go out into their communities, unknowingly shed virus, and infect other people.

Evidence has also found that COVID-19 vaccines reduce transmission.

Viral loads tend to be significantly lower in vaccinated people who experienced a breakthrough infection, suggesting that people who contract an infection after vaccination have less virus.

“If you aren’t doing it for yourself, do it for other people,” McBride said.

The more people who get vaccinated, the closer we’ll get to achieving herd immunity and blunting the spread of COVID-19.

When cases of COVID-19 and hospitalizations plummet, as they will with a high level of immunity, restrictions can ease and normalcy will return.

By getting vaccinated, “you are contributing to the collective effort to get us back to normal, to get us back to work, school, worship, and socializing,” McBride said.

Comedian and podcaster Joe Rogan recently advised his younger fans not to get the COVID-19 vaccine if they’re in good health.

Health experts, including Dr. Anthony Fauci, were quick to criticize Rogan’s remarks, saying they were incorrect because even young healthy people could contract an infection and transmit it to others in their communities.

The more people who get vaccinated, the quicker we’ll get to herd immunity and the closer we’ll be to getting back to normal.