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Christopher Polk/Getty Aaron Rodgers
Aaron Rodgers is ready to be a dad.
The Green Bay Packers quarterback, 37, said he believes fatherhood is "the next great chapter of my life" during an interview with The Pat McAfee Show on Friday.
"It's something that I care about a lot," he added.
Rodgers appeared on the show to "set the record straight" after reports surfaced that he had contracted COVID-19 and was unvaccinated, despite previously telling reporters that he was "immunized."
He confirmed that he had not received the COVID-19 vaccine because he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), and did not want to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot. Instead, he was undergoing his own "immunization protocol," which involved taking ivermectin, a drug used foremost to treat or prevent parasites in animals.
When discussing fatherhood, Rodgers added that his desire to have a child had also impacted his decision not to receive the vaccine.
"To my knowledge there's been zero long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccine," he said. "So, that was definitely something that I was worried about."
"I'm not an anti-vaxx, flat-earther.. I have an allergy to an ingredient that's in the mRNA vaccines. I found a long term immunization protocol to protect myself & I'm very proud of the research that went into that" ~@AaronRodgers12#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE pic.twitter.com/FDMmI5rZmO
— Pat McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) November 5, 2021
Public health experts have said that infertility is not a known side effect of any of the COVID-19 vaccines that are currently authorized by the Food and Drug Administration.
"It is just not true that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is associated with infertility in either males or females," public health expert Dr. Leana Wen told PEOPLE in September.
"In fact, we know that there are actually consequences, if somebody gets COVID-19, in terms of the impact on the male reproductive system," said Dr. Wen, who is an emergency physician and public health professor at George Washington University.
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Harry How/Getty Aaron Rodgers
She added: "There have been studies that have linked scrotal discomfort and low sperm count to having COVID-19. In addition, there has been an association between scrotal swelling and congestion to having COVID-19. So, to emphasize, these are not associated with the vaccine but with the disease."
Dr. Wen, also noted the risks associated with influential figures spreading misinformation about the potential side effects of the COVID-19 vaccine, instead of relying on scientific evidence.
"Many of these individuals have heard misinformation and disinformation about the vaccine and are understandably scared as a result," the author of Lifelines: A Doctor's Journey in the Fight for Public Health told PEOPLE.
"It is extremely harmful to them to have influential figures, including celebrities with a large social media following to perpetuate this information," she said. "In times of crisis, we need for everyone to be singing from the same songbook and that is the songbook of science and evidence."
The NFL currently does not require players to be fully vaccinated against COVID, but specific mandates from teams and venues vary due to local city and state laws. The Packers do not require vaccinations at their home stadium, Lambeau Field.
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