Matthew McConaughey says he still needs to know more before he vaccinates his young children against COVID-19, and “couldn’t mandate” the COVID-19 vaccine for younger kids. He’s not yet ready to “roll the dice.”
“Look. We just said we can vaccinate kids,” he said, closing his eyes briefly as he spoke via videoconference at the New York Times’ Dealbook summit Tuesday. “I want to trust in the science. Do I think that there’s any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no, I don’t. … We all got to get off that narrative. There’s not a conspiracy theory on the vaccines. These are scientists trying to do the right thing.
“It’s scary,” the actor and “Greenlights” memoir author added. “Right now I’m not vaccinating mine, I’ll tell ya that.”
McConaughey and wife Camila Alves McConaughey have three children, ages 8 to 13.
The Food and Drug Administration gave emergency use approval to the Pfizer vaccine for use in children ages 12-15 in May and for children ages 5-11 on Oct. 29. The Pfizer vaccine now has full approval for use in those 16 and older, after getting emergency-use approval in December 2020. Moderna and Johnson & Johnson are not yet approved.
“I’ve been vaccinated,” McConaughey said. “My wife’s been vaccinated. We have a high-risk person in our household, my mother, who’s 90 and she’s immune-compromised … We go slow on vaccinations anyway, even before COVID.”
He noted, however, that they’ve “gone harder” on quarantining and other self-protection measures — “heavy” testing, he said, and masks — for the past two years or so, even doing rapid tests at home.
“I’m in a position, though, where I can do that, and I understand that not everyone can do that,” McConaughey said, raising his voice and wagging a finger at the camera. “I couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out more information.”
McConaughey emphasized once again that he, his wife and his mother had been vaccinated — not because anyone told them they had to, but because they chose to do it.
“There’s gonna come a time, though … where you’re gonna have to roll the dice one way or the other,” he said, “and go, where are the numbers in my favor?”
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy pushed back on McConaughey’s thinking later in the day.
“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,” Murthy told CNN.
The doctor also noted that in trials of kids ages 5 through 11, the Pfizer vaccine is “more than 90% effective in protecting our kids from symptomatic infection, and they are remarkably safe as well.”
Watch the full, 40-minute interview with McConaughey here.
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