Vaccine-hesitant Americans should “be more worried about taking aspirin” than getting vaccinated for COVID-19, an infectious disease expert told MSNBC on Monday after speaking to the notoriously vax-resistant Minnesota Vikings football team.
“You know, aspirin isn’t that safe. I tell people, be more worried about taking aspirin than this vaccine,” said Dr. Michael Osterholm, a University of Minnoesita professor and former member of President Biden’s COVID-19 Advisory Board.
Osterholm noted that of 180 million people who received Pfizer’s COVID shot, zero died.
He said he shared “an updated level of science” on Monday with the Vikings staff and players as part of the team’s effort to increase its lowest-in-the-NFL inoculation rate. Just 64.5 percent of the team was fully vaccinated as of Aug. 3, according to reports.
The team’s quarterback Kirk Cousins also recently insisted he would rather surround himself with plexiglass than get vaccinated.
“The Minnesota Vikings football team… has been exemplary in how it’s approached vaccine messaging,” Osterholm told MSNBC. “They’ve been doing everything they can to help players understand the importance of these vaccines, the safety of these vaccines.”
“Unfortunately, the one thing that has had the most impact is watching a loved one die from this virus,” he said.
NFL teams will be forced to forfeit games this season that are canceled due to COVID-19 outbreaks among unvaccinated players.
Head coach Mike Zimmer said during a press conference Monday that he thought Osterholm did a “terrific job” dispelling Vikings players’ concerns the coach described as “things that you hear on the internet.”
“If they miss a game because they get COVID, so be it,” Zimmer said, “but I don’t want them to get sick and I don’t want their families to get sick and their kids to get sick — or my grandkids to get sick.”