Despite a majority of public and bipartisan support for Americans to get a jab or two of the COVID-19 vaccine, a number of public figures have spoken out against receiving it.
Several of them caught the virus themselves — and some have since even changed their tunes about the efficacy of vaccinations and the seriousness of the coronavirus itself.
These well-known anti-vaxxers span from Hollywood stars — and their offspring — to commentators, now-deceased radio hosts, politicians, a “freedom defender” from Texas and a former CIA operative-turned-QAnon theorist.
After contracting the disease, some of the outspoken have even tried to find a remedy in ivermectin tablets. The drug is used to deworm animals and is something health officials have vehemently warned against ingesting. A toxicologist lumped it into the category of “magic cures” that are, among other faux remedies, “being peddled on the internet.”
Here are some of the famous people who have downplayed COVID-19 or its vaccine, some of whom later caught the virus.
Anti-vaxxers face the music
Miles Teller: ‘The Offer’ set shut down after he tested positive
The reportedly unvaccinated “War Dogs” star allegedly refused a COVID-19 test and may have carried the virus to the set of the Paramount+ limited series “The Offer,” forcing production to a screeching halt recently, according to a report in The Daily Mail.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we have temporarily halted production. We will continue to follow all safety protocols and monitor the situation closely,” a representative for Paramount Television Studios said.
“He’s brought the virus to the set and the whole set had to shut down,” a source told the British publication of Teller, 34, who plays Oscar-winning “The Godfather” producer Albert S. Ruddy in the making-of show.
“Miles Teller is not vaccinated. He wouldn’t even get the test,” the source added.
The Post reached out to Teller’s reps for comment. His publicist, Lauren Hozempa, told Daily Mail that the outlet’s reporting was “incorrect.”
Joe Rogan: Self-proclaimed ‘f–king moron’
One of the most recent and public cases, conservative podcast host Joe Rogan had to cancel his planned Nashville show after he felt “very weary” from the virus earlier this week.
To combat COVID-19, Rogan, 54, said he “threw the kitchen sink at it, all kinds of meds” including ivermectin, despite the FDA’s warning that a wrong interaction or overdose of the drug could lead to “seizures, coma and even death.”
In April, he advised young people to not get vaccinated on his podcast, “The Joe Rogan Experience.”
“Are you a healthy person? Like, look, don’t do anything stupid, but you should take care of yourself. You should — if you’re a healthy person, and you’re exercising all the time, and you’re young, and you’re eating well, like, I don’t think you need to worry about this,” Rogan said.
However, later Rogan backpedaled and discredited himself.
“I’m not a doctor, I’m a f–king moron,” he said on a later episode. “I’m not a respected source of information, even for me … But I at least try to be honest about what I’m saying.”
“I’m not an anti-vax person. I said I believe they’re safe and I encourage many people to take them,” he added. “My parents were vaccinated. I just said that if you’re a young, healthy person that you don’t need it.”
On Friday, September 3 — two days after testing positive for COVID-19 — Rogan announced on Instagram that he has since tested negative. “Tested negative today!” he wrote. “Thanks for all the kind wishes!”
Marc Bernier: Conservative radio host known as ‘Mr. Anti-Vax’
Marc Bernier, a 65-year-old talk radio host, billed himself as “Mr. Anti-Vax” before succumbing to COVID-19 in late August.
Bernier, who was with WNDB radio in Daytona Beach, Florida, for more than 30 years, died after fighting the coronavirus for nearly a month after previously announcing on the air that he wouldn’t get vaccinated.
During a December show, when Bernier was asked by a co-host if he would get the shots, Bernier replied, “I’m not taking it.
“Are you kidding me? Mr. Anti-Vax? Jeepers.”
Mel Stack, an attorney who regularly advertised on Bernier’s show, said the host’s views had been based on the impact vaccines had had on those close to him more so than politics.
Caleb Wallace: ‘Freedom defender’ too ‘hard-headed’ about COVID-19
Caleb Wallace was a 30-year-old who flat-out said, “I care more about freedom than I care about your personal health,” to officials in San Angelo, Texas.
Wallace founded “The San Angelo Freedom Defenders,” which protested mask and vaccine mandates while also publishing lists of local businesses that required masks.
A father of three who was expecting a fourth child, Wallace contracted COVID-19 in late July and initially refused to get tested or see a doctor, his wife Jessica Wallace told the San Angelo Standard-Times of her “hard-headed” husband.
“He didn’t want to see a doctor, because he didn’t want to be part of the statistics with COVID tests,” she said.
Like Rogan, Wallace also took ivermectin along with vitamins and other drugs before his case became so severe that a relative rushed him to an emergency room.
It was there that Wallace had been unconscious for almost a month until his death at the end of August.
“To those who wished him death, I’m sorry his views and opinions hurt you. I prayed he’d come out of this with a new perspective and more appreciation for life,” his widow wrote on a GoFundMe page.
Robert David Steele: CIA operative-turned-QAnon supporter
A former counter-intelligence expert and Marine, Robert David Steele denounced the COVID-19 vaccine — even in his dying days while hooked up to a hospital ventilator.
Steele, who called QAnon “the single greatest information operation in the history of humanity,” claimed to be the first person who called COVID-19 a hoax and blogged from a hospital about contracting the virus prior to his death in late August.
“The bottom line is that my lungs are not functioning,” Steele wrote.
He was also reportedly an “antisemitic conspiracist,” according to the Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights.
Phil Valentine: Radio host made anti-vax parody song
A syndicated Tennessee conservative radio host, Phil Valentine died in August after a lengthy fight with COVID-19 at age 61.
Valentine recorded a parody song, titled “Vaxman,” that mocked the vaccine, and he had also tweeted in opposition of it, reported WTVF in Nashville.
“I have a very low risk of A) Getting COVID and B) dying of it if I do. Why would I risk getting a heart attack or paralysis by getting the vaccine?” Valentine posted in December of 2020, according to WTVF.
In July, Valentine announced to his audience on SuperTalk 99.7 WTN that he contracted the coronavirus, saying he expected a quick return.
Pressley Stutts: South Carolina county leader pushed ‘freedom and liberty’
In his final days Republican leader Pressley Stutts of Greenville, South Carolina, shared a Facebook photo of an allegedly unvaccinated healthcare worker bragging about not getting the virus after 573 days during which they were face-to-face with COVID-19 patients, according to the Greenville News.
By virtue of “freedom and liberty,” Stutts reportedly also posted that nobody should be forced to get vaccinated or wear a mask.
On the July 4, Stutts also shared a post dismissing the Delta variant as “code for ‘y’all aren’t scared anymore.’”
Stutts spent his last days on a ventilator before dying in late August, according to the local news outlet.
Dick Farrel: Queens anti-vax anchor flipped views in final days
Dick Farrel, also known as “the other Rush Limbaugh,” was a New York City native praised by his audience for speaking out against COVID-19 vaccines and calling Dr. Anthony Fauci a “power-tripping lying freak” while on air with Newsmax and other radio stations.
But before the 65-year-old’s death from COVID-19 in early August, loved ones said Farrel had changed his stance — and even advocated getting the vaccine.
“He texted me and told me to ‘Get it!’ He told me that this virus is no joke and he said: ‘I wish I had gotten it!’” according to Farrel’s friend, Amy Leigh Hair.
Candace Owens: Allegedly denied COVID-19 test due to her politics
Conservative political commentator, author and COVID-19 vaccine critic Candace Owens was allegedly denied a test for the virus recently because she “worked to make this pandemic worse by spreading misinformation,” according to an email Owens said was sent to her by a testing facility in Aspen, Colorado.
Outraged, Owens wrote that she will be bringing her case to the United States Department of Health and Human Services.
“[She] had NO RIGHT to deny me a covid test when my taxes go toward her operations This situation is currently being escalated to the HHS. Stay tuned!” Owens posted in another tweet.
Chet Hanks: Tom’s son made anti-vax rant — despite parents’ hospitalization
The apple apparently fell quite far from the tree as Chet Hanks, 31, recently affirmed his anti-vax stance, despite his parents Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson being hospitalized with COVID-19 in 2020.
“With the amount of people I know recently who have gotten COVID and with like the numbers rising, I think it’s important for me to say I got the vaccine,” he started in an Instagram rant.
“Psych, b—h! If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” he shouted in the off-kilter video. “I’ve never had COVID. They ain’t sticking me with that motherf–king needle. It’s the motherf–king flu. Get over it.”
In a follow-up clip, Hanks reiterated his “right to not get that s–t,” going on to say, “Let’s be real. Ninety-nine percent of you motherf–kers wouldn’t use a shampoo that’s not FDA approved, but you’re willing to get some experimental government injection.”
Herman Cain: GOP politician seen maskless at rally before death
Herman Cain was a notable casualty in July of 2020 after the 74-year-old was seen maskless in the stands of a Donald Trump rally in late June of that year.
Although his passing predated the nation’s vaccine rollout, Cain was vocal on Twitter, saying COVID-19 was “not as deadly as the mainstream media made it out to be.”
Prior to his death, Cain — who survived stage four colon cancer in 2006 and announced a presidential bid in 2011 — was put on a ventilator for nearly a month in his Atlanta hospital room.
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