Correction: The description of a research letter has been updated to reflect it was a study of 3,222 people, ages 18-34, hospitalized with COVID-19. A previous version of this story described the study as 3,222 people, ages 18-34, without clarifying the hospitalization designation.
Update April 29: Joe Rogan, during a podcast episode on April 29, clarified his comments on young people getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
“I’m not an anti-vax person," Rogan said. "In fact, I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them – my parents were vaccinated. I just said I don’t think that if you’re a young, healthy person that you need it. Their argument was you need it for other people. That makes more sense.”
ORIGINAL STORY BELOW:
In an episode posted on April 23, Joe Rogan, host of one of the top podcasts on Spotify, said that although he thinks it’s safe to get a COVID-19 vaccine, he wouldn’t advise a healthy 21-year-old to get one.
Clips of Rogan’s statement have been shared across social media platforms, with people chiming in on the accuracy of his comments.
Should young, healthy adults get a COVID-19 vaccine?
Yes, young and healthy adults should get a COVID-19 vaccine, according to medical experts.
WHAT WE FOUND
In an April 23 episode of “The Joe Rogan Experience,” Rogan was discussing vaccinations when he said:
“I think you should get vaccinated if you’re vulnerable. I think you should get vaccinated if you feel like – my parents are vaccinated. I’ve encouraged a lot of people to get – and people say, ‘Do you think it’s safe to get vaccinated?’ I’ve said, ‘Yeah, I think for the most part it’s safe to get vaccinated.’ I do. I do.
“But if you’re like 21 years old, and you say to me, ‘Should I get vaccinated?’ I’ll go, ‘No.’ Are you healthy? Are you a healthy person? Like look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. 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.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends people get a COVID-19 vaccine when they are eligible. Everyone 16 and older in the U.S. became eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine on April 19.
Three COVID-19 vaccines have been authorized for emergency use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The two-dose vaccine developed by Pfizer was 95% effective in preventing COVID-19 among clinical trial participants. The two-dose vaccine developed by Moderna was 94% effective in clinical trials. The single-dose vaccine developed by Johnson & Johnson was 67% effective in preventing moderate to severe/critical COVID-19 disease occurring at least 14 days after vaccination.
The director of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, said with COVID-19 still spreading among young adults, vaccinations are vital to slowing the pandemic.
“Cases are increasing nationally, and we are seeing this occur predominantly in younger adults,” Walensky said on April 5. “This is why you’ve heard me so clearly share my concern. We know that these increases are due in part to more highly transmissible variants, which we are very closely monitoring.”
While younger adults are less likely to have severe symptoms after contracting COVID-19, there are still young people who are hospitalized or die.
In a research letter published in September 2020 on the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Network website, a study of 3,222 people hospitalized with COVID-19, from ages 18 to 34, found that 21% of them required intensive care in hospitals, 10% required mechanical ventilation and 2.7% died.
“These findings underscore the importance of infection prevention measures in this age group,” the report said.
In addition, another JAMA article said while younger adults aren’t as likely to be hospitalized or die compared to older adults, COVID-19 can still have other negative effects.
“The deaths may be relatively rare, but some nonfatal symptomatic cases can be hugely disruptive and even life-altering,” the article said.
As of April 28, more than 142 million people in the U.S. had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, including more than 98 million people who are considered fully vaccinated.