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Is Joe Rogan Anti-Vaccine?

Why would anyone think that Joe Rogan is anti-vaccine?

Someone talking about vaccines to millions of people should really make sure they are getting things right.
Someone talking about vaccines to millions of people should really make sure they are getting things right.

After all, he has actually gone out of his way to say that he is not anti-vaccine!

Is Joe Rogan Anti-Vaccine?

Of course, Jenny McCarthy has also repeatedly said that she is not anti-vaccine…

Do you think Jenny McCarthy is anti-vaccine?
Do you believe that Jenny McCarthy is not anti-vaccine?

In fact, few people actually come out and say that they are anti-vaccine, despite all evidence to the contrary.

“In our email exchange before the show, I suggested (and Joe agreed) that a good icebreaker to conversation would be my 2008 inclusion of him in Skeptoid #125 “Ten Most Wanted: Celebrities Who Promote Harmful Pseudoscience”. In the science and skepticism communities, Joe has long had a reputation as a publicizer of conspiracy theories, illustrated nowhere better than his infamous debate with astronomer Phil Plait on whether or not the Apollo moon landings were hoaxed. I’d heard that Joe had since moved away from his position on the moon landings, and he did a great job contending Roseanne Barr’s chemtrail beliefs, so I wanted to correct the record wherever necessary.”

Why I Left Joe Rogan on My List of Celebrities Promoting Pseudoscience

So has Joe Rogan said anything that might make us think that he is anti-vaccine?

Does he push any of the common myths and misinformation about vaccines that scare parents away from vaccinating and protecting their kids? Misinformation about vaccines that has already been refuted a thousand times?

Let’s see.

Do you think Joe Rogan is anti-vaccine?
Do you think Joe Rogan is anti-vaccine?

Does he push an association between vaccines and autism?

Needless to say, an association between vaccines and autism has not been proven in court. The Kennedy article Rogan tweeted to his millions of followers is talking about Bailey Banks, who did not have autism.

Yup.

Does he push conspiracy theories that folks are covering up vaccine injuries?

Who is spending all of this money denying this damage that Rogan claims vaccines do?
Who is spending all of this money denying this damage that Rogan claims vaccines do?

Check.

Does he try and scare people with statistics about the Vaccine Court?

When talking about Vaccine Court awards, it is important to include statistics about the billions of doses of vaccines that have been given during the time since they started compensating vaccine injury petitions.
When talking about Vaccine Court awards, it is important to include statistics about the billions of doses of vaccines that have been given during the time since they started compensating vaccine injury petitions.

Yes.

Does he spread conspiracy theories that make vaccines seem dangerous?

This "story" about the H1N1 vaccine wasn't true.
This “story” about the H1N1 vaccine wasn’t true.

No doubt.

“While it’s true that a Navy vessel was prevented from deploying because of a flu outbreak, that had nothing to do with the vaccine, which hadn’t been developed at the time. And there were no deaths aboard the ship, as some e-mails claim.”

Inoculation Misinformation

On the other hand, Joe Rogan has interviewed some folks who are as far from anti-vaccine as you can get…

Peter Hotez recently spent two hours talking to Joe Rogan about vaccines and autism on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience.
Peter Hotez recently spent two hours talking to Joe Rogan about vaccines and autism on his podcast, the Joe Rogan Experience.

Has he learned anything from them?

Why haven't more experts pushed back on Joe Rogan's "pro-science" perspective?
Why haven’t more experts pushed back on Joe Rogan’s “pro-science” perspective?

I sure hope so, as celebrities have a lot of influence on whether or not people get vaccinated and vaccinate and protect their kids. Especially when those celebrities push misinformation and propaganda about vaccines.

Surprisingly, Joe Rogan actually seems to have a very good understanding of what is happening in the modern anti-vaccine movement.

“The problem is these echo chambers where people get involved online that magnify all of these beliefs and you get radicalized. I mean I’ve seen it. People get involved in these Facebook groups. These anti-vax Facebook groups or you know, all sorts of different things. I mean that’s how these Flat Earth people get going. They start listening only to people that are involved in this circle. They don’t have a greater understanding of the science involved…”

Joe Rogan Experience #1274 w/Nicholas Christakis

But not necessarily a good understanding of the risks of vaccines

“If it’s one out of a million and you have three hundred million people, then you have 3 million… you know. One million people with an issue is a big deal. Right, with three hundred million people you easily could have three hundred really big cases. Three hundred cases where people died from vaccines and then you bring those in front of people and you say Oh my God. And then there’s this one and this one and this one. And there’s two hundred and ninety eight more. And you’re like Holy shit! All these people are dying from vaccines. It doesn’t feel good if it’s your child.”

Joe Rogan Experience #1274 w/Nicholas Christakis

Even though he corrected his math (where did he get 3 million???), he is still wrong about the number of vaccine deaths.

“In a review of reports of death following vaccination submitted to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) from the early 1990s, the Institute of Medicine concluded that most were coincidental, not causally associated.”

Moro et al on Deaths Reported to the Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System, United States, 1997–2013

Although there are some severe vaccine reactions that occur in the one in a million range, they are not usually life-threatening.

In fact, vaccine deaths are extremely rare.

While trying to defend Bill Gates and his vaccine initiatives, Joe Rogan ending up claiming the HPV vaccines are dangerous and have a high number of adverse reactions. They don't.
While trying to defend Bill Gates and his vaccine initiatives, Joe Rogan ending up claiming the HPV vaccines are dangerous and have a high number of adverse reactions. They don’t.

Still, while Joe Rogan doesn’t get everything right about vaccines, he has come an awful long way over the years.

In 2014 he was talking about vaccines and autism, asking why it was okay to “just shoot chemicals in and assume that everyone is going to have a uniform reaction.”

“You don’t want to bring back smallpox. You don’t want your child to get measles. Babies can get measles when they can’t even be vaccinated for it. This is one of the reasons we need to vaccinate children to make sure they don’t get measles.”

Joe Rogan Experience #1274 w/Nicholas Christakis

And he is now interviewing experts like Nicholas Christakis, Michael Osterholm, and Peter Hotez, etc., and telling folks they need to get vaccinated.

Let’s hope he continues to learn more and more from the vaccine experts he has been interviewing.

More on Anti-Vaccine Celebrities

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