President Joe Biden’s surgeon general, Vivek Murthy, took to lecturing Matthew McConaughey after the actor expressed a desire to learn more about COVID-19 vaccines before injecting his children.
Earlier, McConaughey, who is said to be contemplating a run for governor of Texas, said he “couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate” his “younger kids,” adding, “I still want to find out. Still want to find out more information.”
In an interview with CNN’s Erin Burnett, Murthy revealed what he would tell the actor.
“Look, you and I are both parents. We know there is nothing more important than the safety of our children,” he told Burnett.
The host played a clip of McConaughey, who said: “I want to trust in the science. Do I think that there is any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no, I don’t. …Right now, I am not vaccinating mine, I will tell you that. … I’m not vaccinating mine. I’ve been vaccinated. My wife’s been vaccinated. We have a high-risk person in our household. My mother who is 90 and she is immune-compromised.”
The actor added: “I couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out. Still want to find out more information.”
After noting that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention chief Dr. Rochelle Walensky said previously that in trials for 5 to 11-year-olds receiving the Pfizer vaccine that there were no observed adverse effects for children, Burnett asked the surgeon general, “But what do you say to Matthew McConaughey and others who may hear that and connect with that?”
“Well, what I would say, first of all, is look, you and I are both parents,” Murthy lectured. “We know there is nothing more important than the safety of our children. And so, if you are a parent out there and you have got questions, that’s okay to have questions. You know you should ask your questions. You should get them answered.
“My thing is I really want to make sure people get them answered from credible sources. Keep in mind this. I am going to draw a parallel here,” he continued.
“When we began the vaccination effort for adults, actually a few months before we had the vaccine available, if you looked at polls, they showed about a third or so of adults were ready to go out and get the vaccine right away.
“What changed, though, is then the FDA and CDC weighed in. People saw their friends and family get vaccinated. People also recognized that they were getting protected and they got the chance to talk to their doctors about the vaccine,” Murthy noted further.
“All of that is going to start happening now with vaccines for children, as well,” he predicted. “So, what I would encourage parents to recognize is, number one, COVID is not harmless in our children. Many kids have died. Sadly, hundreds of children, thousands have been hospitalized and as a dad of a child who has been hospitalized several years ago for another illness, I would never wish upon any parent they have a child that ends up in the hospital,” he went on.
“And the vaccines have shown in these trials for children 5 through 11, they are more at 90 percent effective and they are remarkably safe as well. The kinds of side effects they saw were [a] sore arm, fatigue, headache,” he said.
Notably, Murthy did not address any potential long-term effects from the vaccine, but that’s likely because researchers simply do not yet know what they may be.
In September, McConaughey, who is from Texas, said he was contemplating a run for the office of governor.
“Look, it’s going to be in some capacity. … I just — I’m more of a folksy and philosopher-poet statesman than I am a, per se, definitive politician,” McConaughey noted during an interview on the “Set it Straight: Myths and Legends” podcast.
“So I go, well, that’s a reason not to, but then I go, no, that’s exactly why you should, because politics needs redefinition, but I’m measuring, you know, what is my category? What’s my embassy?”