Nicki Minaj appears to have broken the dam on celebrity anti-vaccine sentiment. Following a series of tweets this September in which Minaj expressed skepticism of the vaccine rooted largely in misinformation concerning her cousin’s friend’s balls, a number of other celebrities have apparently felt empowered to share that they, too, have reservations about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. First came supermodel Doutzen Kroes, who posted a photo of herself in sepia with a lengthy caption defending her right to forgo the shot.
“I can no longer turn a blind eye to the injustice that is happening in front of us,” Kroes wrote. “Although my hands are shaking while writing this, I feel it is time to choose courage over comfort and speak my truth.” She continued, “I will not be forced to take the shot. I will not be forced to prove my health to participate in society. I will not accept exclusion of people based on their medical status.”
Kroes’s post failed to mention that the FDA and the CDC have declared the vaccines safe and effective, with both entities strongly urging everyone over the age of 5 to get the shot. Nor does it acknowledge the fact that vaccines help curb the spread of COVID-19 through communities, keeping both the vaccinated and those who cannot yet be vaccinated safer.
Kroes wrapped up by declaring that “freedom of speech is a right worth fighting for” and by urging her followers to “pass on the torch of hope and love and speak your truth.” At least one fellow supermodel came out of the woodwork to defend Kroes’s right to free speech: Gisele Bündchen, who, lest you forget, feeds her children dehydrated spirulina fruit rolls. After the backlash to Kroes’s post began, Bündchen commented, “I know Doutzen and she is a kind and loving person. I can’t believe the hate being directed at her because she expressed her feelings.”
While it’s unclear whether or not Bündchen is vaccinated, Kroes is certainly not alone in her skepticism. According to The Hollywood Reporter, actress Letitia Wright also espoused anti-vaxx views while filming Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Last December, Wright shared a YouTuber’s hour-long anti-vaccine video to her Twitter account, which led to the actress quietly parting ways with her team of reps in the U.S. (Wright later deleted the tweet and issued a statement saying, “My intention was not to hurt anyone, my ONLY intention of posting the video was it raised my concerns with what the vaccine contains and what we are putting in our bodies. Nothing else.” Again, evidence overwhelmingly shows that the vaccines are safe and effective).
THR’s recent report also mentions an unnamed, unvaccinated “high-profile actor” who was hospitalized with COVID after allegedly making anti-vaxx comments on set. Though there is speculation about who that actor is, plenty of other celebrities have openly confirmed their stance against the vaccine. Comedian Rob Schneider, rapper Offset, Anwar Hadid, LaKeith Stanfield, and professional white boy Chet Hanks have all expressed various anti-vaccine sentiments over the past year.
Despite some teams introducing a vaccine requirement for their players, the NFL is also finding itself in the middle of a vaccine war. Last week, ESPN reported that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, is registered as unvaccinated by the league. In August, Rodgers told reporters he was “immunized,” which now appears to be a reference to a homeopathic treatment he received from a personal doctor to raise his antibody levels, not an FDA-approved shot. Per ESPN, Rodgers then petitioned the NFL for his treatment to be considered equivalent to official vaccinations, which was ultimately rejected.
With the recent availability of vaccinations for kids ages 5 to 11, skepticism surrounding the COVID vaccine has also extended to celebrities’ children. During an interview with the New York Times, Matthew McConaughey said that while both he and his wife are vaccinated, right now he’s “not vaccinating” his children (ages 8, 11, and 13). The actor also said he is against vaccine mandates for children, adding, “I still want to find out more information.”
Health experts including the U.S. Surgeon General recommend children get vaccinated against COVID, stressing the efficacy of the vaccine in preventing infection. “COVID is not harmless in our children,” U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told CNN, noting that not only is the vaccine “remarkably safe,” it’s “90 percent effective in protecting our kids from symptomatic infection.” Despite his skepticism surrounding vaccinating his children, McConaughey did speak out against COVID-vaccine conspiracy theories. “We all got to get off that narrative,” he told the Times. “There’s not a conspiracy theory on the vaccines.”
If the CDC can’t convince famous people to get vaccinated, maybe Khloé Kardashian can?
This post has been updated.