Much like when Elvis Presley received his polio vaccination live on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1956, the scientific community and some politicians are hoping celebrities can influence people to take the COVID-19 vaccine. At the time of this writing, all we can say is good luck with that. According to a December 2020 poll in Pew Research, only 60% of Americans say “they would definitely or probably get a vaccine for the coronavirus, if one were available today.”
And while a vaccine is available now, it will still take time to roll out; depending on your age and job, you might be waiting a while. Speaking to reporters from his home city of Wilmington, Delaware, President-elect Joe Biden acknowledged that “taking the vaccine from a vial into the arm of millions of Americans is one of the biggest operational challenges the United States has ever faced” and warned that “experts think it could get worse before it gets better” (via CNBC).
So as COVID-19 rages on, there is a glimmer of hope with the creation and availability of a vaccine. However, just like with any topic, most people have differing opinions on the best course of action to take. And celebrities are no exception. Here a few famous people with their thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine.
Noel Gallagher is 'very wary of taking a vaccine'
Oasis’ Noel Gallagher is not one to shy away from speaking his mind and he didn’t hold back during an appearance on Matt Morgan’s Funny How? podcast when gave his thoughts on the COVID-19 vaccine and the guidelines in general. “I get the washing of the hands and the social distancing and all that but when you’ve actually been now told to cover up your face,” he said (via Celebretainment). “I don’t mind other people wearing them, that’s your personal f*****g choice.”
As for the vaccine? Not a chance. “I’d be very, very wary of taking a vaccine. I don’t even take tablets. I take a course of tablets for different things now because I’m f*****g 53 and starting the last leg,” he explained. “But the last resort for me is taking tablets. It’s not a thing I’ve ever done, I don’t revert to a tablet for everything, power through it and eventually it f*****g goes.”
The “Live Forever” hitmaker also said he neither he nor his wife have caught the virus despite not following the COVID-19 guidelines in any shape or form. “Yes, I’ve been tested. I had to go to hospital for something and I got tested, I’ve never had it,” he said. “I was shocked, actually. I’ve never adhered [to] any of the rules I’ve carried on my life as normal and I was convinced that I would have it. I’ve never had it and Sara got tested and she’s never had it.”
Oliver Stone received a vaccine in Russia
JFK and Platoon director Oliver Stone, 74, told Russia media that he took the country’s Sputnik V vaccine despite being over a decade older than patients recommended to receive the dose (experts state only people 18 to 60 take the vaccine or risk adverse side effects). “I got a vaccine a few days ago. I don’t know if it’ll work but I heard good things about the Russian vaccine,” Stone told Russia’s Channel One state television (via The Moscow Times).
“I have to get a second shot in 45 days or so and I have to come back,” he told Russia’s Channel One (via the Associated Press). Stone went to say that he may receive pushback from taking a vaccine from a perceived foreign adversary, but he doesn’t really care. “America, somehow in its madness, believes that China and Russia are enemies. I don’t,” he said. “I see Russia and China as great partners.” He went on to describe Russia as being “one of the most advanced countries, if not the most advanced country.”
In a statement obtained by Reuters, a director of a research institute under Russia’s health ministry claims the Sputnik V vaccine’s “effectiveness is also more than 90%.” At the time of this writing, Russian President Vladimir Putin has yet to take the vaccine due to his age. “Our health care professionals say the vaccines are meant for people of certain ages,” he said (via CNBC). “I am a law-abiding citizen and I always listen to what our health-care professionals say.”
Offset says he doesn't trust the vaccine
On Dec. 13, 2020, TMZ caught up with rapper Offset and asked him if he was afraid of the COVID-19 vaccine, citing a study that showed “only 14% of the Black community trust the COVID vaccine.” He took a beat and then replied, “I don’t trust it, though.” Offset went on to bring up the FDA’s report that a type of facial paralysis, Bell’s palsy, was found in four Pfizer volunteers.
“Yeah, I just don’t want to be the test dummy, ” he said. When asked what the government could do to assuage Black Americans’ fears regarding the vaccine, Offset replied, “Do something to help the Black community in real life … A lot of the government s**t I don’t be thinking is for us, period.”
The “MotorSport” rapper was then asked if had more confidence in the vaccine since former president Barack Obama said he would get the shot on camera. “Nah,” Offset replied, stating the only reason Obama was allowed to get the vaccine early was due to his “celebrity status” and admitted that applied to himself as well. “If I go to the hospital here, they’re gonna admit me fast, they’re gonna get me faster than a normal person, which ain’t really fair,” he said. He then reiterated that people who deserve the vaccine more should be first in line to receive the shot first.
Paul McCartney is ready when the vaccine is
Although he had a massive hit with “Live and Let Die,” Paul McCartney doesn’t hold that view when it comes to the novel coronavirus. Speaking to The Sun (via MetroUK), the legendary member of The Beatles says he’s ready for the COVID-19 vaccine. “The vaccine will get us out of this. I think we’ll come through it, I know we’ll come through, and it’s great news about the vaccine,” he said. “I’ll have it as soon as I’m allowed.”
McCartney states that even though the vaccine is available, it does not necessarily mean things will be back to normal any time soon. “I mean it’s going to be very difficult for a while yet, because you can’t just lock down a whole country unless you’re China,” he explained. “We can’t have that kind of lack of freedom, we’re all brought up to enjoy this great freedom that we have in a democracy.” At the time of this writing, China, a country with over a billion people, only has 320 active COVID-19 cases.
The British knight also hinted on BBC Radio 4 that he wouldn’t be appearing at the iconic Glastonbury Festival if it returns in 2021. “This is the problem. The thing we do is we get 100,000 people closely packed together with flags and no masks. Talk about super-spreader,” he explained. “So you know, that’s gonna be difficult as to how people do that.”
Candace Owens says they couldn't pay her enough to take the COVID-19 vaccine
You really have to hand it to Candace Owens. She understands her brand and leans into whenever possible. So we know you’re clutching your pearls right now to learn that the right-wing personality is refusing to take the COVID-19 vaccine because of what she believes is a giant government conspiracy.
Responding to a Forbes article that stated Twitter would start removing posts containing misinformation about COVID-19, Owens tweeted, “They censored the TRUE Hunter Biden story and will now censor anything that goes against the multi-billion dollar, evil, Covid-19 ring. I will not be touching the vaccine.” In another tweet, she wrote, “It’s pretty incredible to consider that right now governments are like ‘in order to keep you safe, we need to impoverish you, imprison you, force mask and vaccinate you, plus separate you from your family’ and there are millions of people out there that are just like ‘okay!'”
In a screenshot of an Instagram Story obtained by The Sun, Owens stated that she could not be incentivized to take the vaccine. “There is absolutely no sum of money any person could pay me to touch the Covid-19 vaccine,” the story read. “We have never seen this level of censorship, fear mongering, and lies from media companies. Every person should be on high alert. Something isn’t right.”
Ian McKellen: 'We all have a part to play in the fight'
Even Gandalf/Magneto isn’t immune to the novel coronavirus. Beloved actor Sir Ian McKellen, 81, was one of the first celebrities to publicly acknowledge that he received the COVID-19 vaccine. According to NHS England, McKellan was in one of the first “eligible groups” to receive the vaccine due to be over 80 years old (via CNN). “I feel honored to have received the Covid-19 vaccine and I would urge anyone who is offered the vaccine to take up the offer — it took a few minutes and then it was done, ” he said in a press release obtained by CNN.
He also encouraged everyone to get vaccinated so we can all go back to normal. “I really hope that, as more people get vaccinated, we will move further along the path back to a more normal way of life, particularly for the arts which have suffered so much this year,” he said in the aforementioned press release. “We all have a part to play in the fight against coronavirus and doing our bit and getting vaccinated will save lives.”
The “Lord of the Rings” star also thanked the National Health Service The National Health Service for being “at the top of the list for institutions that do work” in England (via itv). “Of course, I know I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t for the NHS,” he said.
Rep. Ken Buck has 'the freedom to decide'
In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, Republican Congressman Ken Buck, 61, of Colorado flat out refused to take the COVID-19 vaccine citing safety concerns. “It’s my choice,” Buck said (via The Hill). “I’m an American and I have the freedom to decide if I’m going to take a vaccine or not, and in this case I am not going to take the vaccine.”
When asked why he wouldn’t take it, Buck explained that the “safety” of the vaccine worries him more than “the side effects” of the coronavirus. “I’m a healthy person. I think most Americans are healthy,” he continued. “I think what we should do is focus on the at-risk populations, make sure those are the people that get this vaccine first. Make sure that the health care workers who want the vaccine get the vaccine as soon as possible.”
At the time of this writing, the state of Colorado has 313,552 active COVID-19 cases and 4,369 deaths.
Seth MacFarlane is raring to sign up
Responding to a video of Vice President Mike Pence, Second Lady Karen Pence, and Surgeon General Jerome Adams publicly receiving their COVID-19 vaccine, Family Guy creator Seth MacFarlane left no room for doubt about his thoughts on the vaccine. “I’ve spoken to enough Hollywood folks who say they won’t take the vaccine, or they’re not sure, or they’re reluctant, that it makes me wonder if we really are as dense as red states claim,” he tweeted. “Vaccines are rock-solid science, even though the viral strain is new. Sign me the h*ll up.”
A quick scroll through MacFarlane’s Twitter feed let us know he’s serious about stopping the novel coronavirus as soon as possible. “For everyone who still doesn’t get it, and who still cannot see beyond the end of their own congested nose: If you are financially able to stay home, stay home. For the sake of those who can’t,” he tweeted about reports of healthcare rationing in L.A. County hospitals due to COVID-19.
A few days before Thanksgiving, the Orville actor reminded people to stay safe and that help was on the way. “Our knowledge of how the virus spreads is much more extensive than it was in March,” he wrote. “We know how to maintain relative protection through the use of masks and avoidance of groups. Vaccines are right around the corner. All this is temporary. Stop being reckless and start being safe.”
Elon Musk is not here for the vaccine nor your COVID-19 questions
During a Sept. 2020 appearance on The New York Times‘ Sway podcast, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said he wouldn’t take COVID-19 vaccine if it came available and got into a contentious debate with the host Kara Swisher about coronavirus guidelines. When asked if he would take the vaccine, Musk replied, “I’m not at risk for COVID, nor are my kids.”
Musk then said that everyone at Tesla has been working and when pressed by Swisher as to what he would say to his employees who might say,”I think you’re putting me and my family at risk,” Musk answered, “Great, stay home.” When asked if they would get penalized for staying home, Musk dodged the question and stated they should stay home if “they have a legitimate reason.”
Swisher once again pressed Musk on whether or not he would pay his at-risk workers to stay home, asking him if he felt “a duty” to protect his own workers. “Let’s just move on,” Musk answered. “Kara, I do not want to get into a debate about COVID, this situation.” When Swisher stated she wanted to finish discussing this topic, Musk replied, “If you want to end the podcast now, we can do it.”
Rupert Murdoch 'strongly' encourages everyone to get vaccinated
While most of the hosts on his network called COVID-19 a hoax and warned viewers about the dangers of the vaccine here in America, Fox Corporation chairman Rupert Murdoch, 89, was receiving the vaccine in Britain. “I would like to thank the key workers and the NHS staff who have worked so hard throughout the pandemic, and the amazing scientists who have made this vaccine possible. I strongly encourage people around the world to get the vaccine as it becomes available,” he said in a statement (via Variety).
Much like Ian McKellan, Murdoch qualified for an early dose due to his advanced age and received the vaccine “after he received a call saying he was eligible.” The Guardian states that the Australian-born billionaire arrived at the vaccine center just before regular business hours were to end in “a convoy of Range Rovers” and forbade anyone to document the process. “Just a reminder – we have been advised ‘no media coverage’ due to security issues. Please note that photography and video are strictly forbidden,” an email to the vaccine center staff read (via The Guardian).
However, the same day Murdoch received the vaccine, Tucker Carlson called the vaccine rollouts “a marketing campaign” that should make people suspicious (via CNN). “Even if you’re strongly supportive of vaccines,” he said, “it all seems a bit much. It feels false, because it is. It’s too slick.”
Tom Hanks will wait his turn to get the vaccine
As you may recall, Tom Hanks was one of the first celebrities to contract the novel coronavirus, but during a December appearance on Today to promote the film News of The World, the Oscar-winner was asked by host Savannah Guthrie if he was going to take the COVID-19 vaccine and he stated he would be holding off for now. “We’ll be getting it long after everybody who truly needs to get it,” Hanks replied.
Hanks said his experience battling COVID-19 was a “rough ten days,” but says his immediate quarantine kept him from infecting others. “But I think what’s much more important is the second half of the COVID-19 formula, is that we didn’t give it to anybody,” he added. “Locking down, we wear masks and we still do, not just so that we don’t catch it but that you don’t give it to somebody in case you are one of those asymptomatic carriers.”
When asked if he would publicly take the vaccine since he’s such a beloved American icon, Hanks replied, “Yeah, sure.”
Rep. Ilhan Omar won't take the vaccine for a good reason
While most of her colleagues in Congress have already publicly taken the COVID-19 vaccine, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota refuses to be inoculated for a good reason. Her stance on the vaccine came after Anand Giridharadas, publisher of the political newsletter The.Ink, tweeted, “Serious question. Is seemingly our entire top political leadership getting the vaccine ahead of others because of their age or their importance??”
To which Omar replied, “It would makes sense if it was age, but unfortunately it’s of importance and its shameful. We are not more important than frontline workers, teachers etc. who are making sacrifices everyday. Which is why I won’t take it. People who need it most, should get it. Full stop.”
The same week the sophomore Congresswoman slammed the COVID relief bill for not doing more to help struggling Americans. “It’s really quite shameful that we find ourselves negotiating a deal with such a small amount of money,” she said during an appearance on The Mehdi Hasan Show. Regarding the “possible one-time check of $600,” nine months after struggling Americans received $1,200, she said, “We are not embarrassed enough as leaders.”
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