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Matthew McConaughey wants ‘more information’ before younger kids get COVID-19 vaccine

Matthew McConaughey makes hand gestures while wearing a cowboy hat in a crowd
Matthew McConaughey says he’s not immediately vaccinating his kids against COVID-19.
(Eric Gay / Associated Press)

Matthew McConaughey says he still needs to know more before he vaccinates his young children against COVID-19, and wouldn’t mandate the COVID-19 vaccine right now 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,” added the actor and “Greenlights” memoir author, who with wife Camila Alves McConaughey has three children. “Right now I’m not vaccinating mine, I’ll tell ya that.”

But McConaughey clarified Wednesday night that he was speaking only about the younger kids.

“What was not clear is that I was referring specifically to the 5-11 year old mandate,” he wrote on his Instagram Stories, noting that 13-year-old son Levi is fully vaccinated. (Daughter Vida is 11, and son Livingston is 8.)

On Russell Brand’s podcast, actor Matthew McConaughey talked about values and the benefit of meeting people in the middle, politically.

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The U.S. Food and Drug Administration gave emergency-use approval to the Pfizer vaccine for 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.

Numbers from the California Department of Public Health show that initial demand for booster shots has been much lower than originally expected.

“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 have all been vaccinated — not because anyone told them they had to, but because they chose to do it.

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“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 [that] they have a child that ends up in the hospital,” Murthy told CNN.

Pfizer says that in studies its COVID-19 pill cut rates of hospitalization and death by nearly 90% in high-risk adults.

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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