Matt Damon Says He Won’t ‘Belittle’ the Unvaccinated: It’s a Personal Choice; ‘That’s the Beauty of America’
Jason Bourne and Ford v Ferrari star Matt Damon believes people should trust “science” when it comes to the decision to get a vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus but acknowledged that, at the end of the day, it is a “personal choice.”
Speaking about vaccine hesitancy in an interview with Yahoo! Entertainment, Damon acknowledged the concerns of the unvaccinated and told the outlet he does not want to “belittle them.”
“There are a lot of reasons that people have, and I don’t want to belittle them,” he said. “It’s tough for me, I have a couple friends who are immunocompromised and they can’t get the vaccine, so they have no choice but to rely on the rest of us to do our part to get to herd immunity. So I look at it that way.”
“I wish at the beginning of this people came out and said, ‘Look, if we all do this, then we’ll protect each other better,’ rather than ‘Well, I’m not in this cohort so I don’t have to worry and it’s not going to hurt me that much.’ It’s just about looking at this as ‘me’ thing or an ‘us’ thing,” he continued, posing it as a decision contributing to the greater good.
But ultimately, despite his opinions and preferences, Damon recognized that getting the vaccine is a choice that should be left to the individual.
“But look, it’s a personal choice. That’s the beauty of America, it’s a free country. And none of us would have it any other way,” the said. “But I fall heavily on the side of trusting science more than something you read on Facebook.”
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) July 21 data, over 161 million people in the United States are considered “fully vaccinated,” representing 48.8 percent of the nation’s total population. Nearly half of those who remain unvaccinated cite concerns with expedited vaccine development as well as worries over safety and adverse side effects — including links to heart inflammation conditions and the FDA’s warning label on the development of Guillain-Barré Syndrome — a rare neurological condition — in connection with the single-dose Johnson & Johnson shot.
Despite that, the CDC claims the benefits of getting vaccinated outweigh the risks. Critics point to the high virus survival rate– which stood at 99 percent for ages 69 and younger and over 94 percent for those older, as Breitbart News reported in September 2020, citing CDC data.
Jessica Forde/Focus Features
Notably, none of the coronavirus vaccines in the United States — Pfizer, Moderna, or Johnson & Johnson — have been fully approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), operating under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Some health experts believe FDA approval would make vaccine mandates more likely — something an overwhelming majority of Americans oppose.
Damon is promoting his latest film, Stillwater, which sees the Oscar-winner play an Oklahoma oil rig worker fighting to save his daughter after she is imprisoned in France. Damon researched his role by visiting the heart of MAGA country: Oklahoma. Damon said spending time with real-life “roughnecks,” talking to the people there “was really eye-opening.”
“These guys don’t apologize for who they are or what they believe, ever,” Damon said during a press conference at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this month. “Culturally, [it’s] a very specific place and very different from how he and I grew up. So it was really facinating. These people were wonderful to us and really helped us. I didn’t know when I first read the script how specific this culture was in Texas and Oklahoma, these roughnecks and what they do. And so it was really eye-opening for me.” Watch below:
Damon described President Donald Trump as “absolutely abhorrent” in 2017, in the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. But the Thor: Love and Thunder star said his new film, helmed by Spotlight director Tom McCarthy, isn’t political and has empathy for his character, whom Damon says is undoubtably a Trump supporter.
“They’re in the oil business, they’re livelihood depends on that. So I don’t think it’s even a question at all,” he said. “We didn’t want to make it expressly political. He is who is and he is from where he is from and the movie has a lot of empathy for him.”