Matthew McConaughey says headlines saying he's against kids being vaccinated are "false."
The Oscar winner and potential politician, 52, was asked in a recent interview about children in the 5 to 11 range — of whom he has two — getting the COVID vaccine now that the FDA gave it emergency use authorization. McConaughey said while he trusts scientists, he "couldn't mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids," and wouldn't get his jabbed "right now." His comments circulated quickly with the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Vivek Murthy, being among those to respond — and remind people to listen to doctors, not celebrities.
McConaughey, who is weighing a run for governor of Texas, has since clarified his position.
"When asked my opinion on the subject of children and vaccination mandates I stated, 'I couldn't mandate it for kids just yet,' the Dallas Buyers Club star wrote on Instagram Wednesday night. "What was not clear is that I was referring specifically to the 5-11 year old mandate."
He continued, "What is NOT true, and insinuated with the click bait headlines since, is that I am against vaccinating kids at all. This is false. In fact, our eldest 13-year-old son Levi is fully vaccinated for COVID-19."
The Texan ended by saying, "I appreciate the ear and clarity."
At the New York Times's DealBook summit on Tuesday, the actor — who's been vocal about masking up — said, "They just said we can vaccinate kids. Do we need to trust ... ? I want to trust in the science. Do I think it's any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell, no, I don't. No … we've all got to get off that narrative. There's not a conspiracy … These are scientists trying to do the right thing."
Still, he continued, "It's scary. Right now I'm not vaccinating mine, I'll tell you that. I'm not vaccinating mine. I’ve been vaccinated. My wife [Camila's] been vaccinated. We have a high-risk person in our household, my mother [Kay McConaughey], who's 90, and she's immunocompromised."
And if he was calling the shots as a politician, McConaughy — who's also dad to Vida, 11, and Livingston, 8 — said, "I couldn’t mandate having to vaccinate the younger kids. I still want to find out more information, but I couldn’t mandate — forget just yet, no."
McConaughey's comments got the attention of Murthy who told CNN, "Vaccines have shown in these trials for children 5 through 11 they are more [than] 90 percent effective in protecting our kids from symptomatic infection, and they are remarkably safe as well."
Murthy called vaccines "an opportunity to protect our kids," noting that "COVID is not harmless in our children."
"Many kids have died," he said. "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 encouraged people, "Talk to your doctor" versus getting medical advice from celebs.
McConaughey has been talking about a potential run for office, but he's also compared politics to a "bag of rats" and said he thinks he'd be more influential outside of politics.