During a lengthy screed Friday against the COVID-19 vaccine, the “woke mob” and the “witch hunt” against him, Aaron Rodgers said a primary reason for not “getting the jab” is that he feared it could make him infertile.

“The next great chapter of my life, I believe is being a father,” the Green Bay Packers quarterback said during his 46-minute appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show.”

Given that Rodgers, 37, is engaged to actor Shailene Woodley, the assumption is that he is looking forward to starting a family with her. But the NFL star said he was worried that his dream of fatherhood would be derailed if he got the COVID-19 vaccine, citing unsubstantiated theories that the vaccine could cause fertility problems.

“To my knowledge, there has been zero long-term studies around sterility or fertility issues around the vaccines,” Rodgers said. “That was definitely something I was worried about and that went through my mind.”

False claims tying the COVID vaccine to infertility have spread on Twitter and Facebook over the past year. The claims have been flagged as misinformation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More on the COVID-19 pandemic

Advertising

The NFL MVP and Woodley, 29, announced earlier this year that they had secretly dated and become engaged during the long months of pandemic lockdown in 2020.

Shortly after the new celebrity super couple went public with their romance, Rodgers talked about his dream of becoming a father.

“I’m in that age group where a lot of my close friends from high school and college are fathers now and have families of their own,” Rodgers said in an interview. “It’s maybe not in the immediate future but definitely something that I really look forward to. I’ve done a pretty good job at taking care of myself for the last 37 years and look forward to taking care of another life at some point too. I just think it’s going to be so fun.”

Woodley has not commented on her fiance’s COVID controversy, except possibly through a cryptic and since-deleted Instagram Story post Friday. The post said, “Calm seas may bring you peace, but storms are where you’ll find your power.”

People on social media have wondered whether Rodgers’ vaccine resistance comes from Woodley. The “Big Little Lies” star previously talked in interviews about her preferences for herbal remedies, alternative medicine and even eating clay to eliminate “metals” from the body.

Rodgers and Woodley also are good friends with actor Miles Teller, who was at the center of controversy over the summer for reportedly causing a production shutdown on his new TV series because he refused to be vaccinated and tested positive for COVID.

Advertising

Rodgers, a former Cal quarterback and Chico native, landed at the center of a national firestorm this week after testing positive for COVID-19. News of his positive test also came with revelations that he was unvaccinated and that he had apparently lied to the media and others when he said in August that he had been “immunized.” Rodgers faces additional scrutiny for attempting to push a homeopathic treatment as a substitute for a vaccine and for possibly violating NFL safety protocols for unvaccinated players.

Rodgers’ positive test means he missed Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs and must isolate for 10 days, which is protocol for unvaccinated players.

On “The Pat McAfee Show,” Rodgers said he had experienced symptoms of COVID-19 and “didn’t feel great” earlier this week but was feeling better Friday. However, he showed he was not feeling good about his belief that he is the latest victim of “cancel culture.”

One of his talking points involved the unsubstantiated fears about infertility.

“There are stories out there on the internet about how vaccination can lead to infertility. There’s absolutely nothing to that,” Francis Collins, the former director of the National Institutes of Health, told The Washington Post.

Rodgers said his initial reason for not getting the Moderna or Pfizer vaccines is that he has an allergy to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines made by those companies. He said he was simply following an advisory from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rodgers did not identify the specific allergy.

Advertising

But even if Rodgers had been able to take one of the mRNA vaccines, he said he would have been hesitant because of his desire to have children.

“We don’t know what the long-term effects of these (vaccines) are,” Rodgers said. “So when people say ‘Just get the jab, just get the jab,” well, everybody is different and there are lot of things we don’t know about this.”

The CDC says that anyone 12 or older can get the vaccine, including people who are hoping to get pregnant in the near or long term. The CDC also said there is no evidence to show that any vaccines, including the COVID-19 vaccines, cause fertility problems in women or men.

Similarly, the Society for Male Reproduction and Urology (SMRU) and the Society for the Study of Male Reproduction (SSMR) earlier this year, saying there is no evidence that the COVID vaccines affect male fertility.

The American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) also recommends that pregnant and lactating women be offered the COVID-19 vaccine, while the American Society for Reproductive Medicine says the vaccine should not be withheld from “from patients who are planning to conceive.” The ASRM furthermore emphasizes that “patients undergoing fertility treatment and pregnant patients should be encouraged to receive vaccination based on eligibility criteria.”

Rodgers said his only option was the vaccine created by Johnson & Johnson, but “had heard of multiple people who had had adverse events around getting the J&J.” He claimed that he “talked to a lot of medical individuals and professionals” about other options and “found an immunization protocol that he could go through to best protect myself.”

Rodgers also said some of his expert advice came from Joe Rogan, the podcaster who claimed he treated his own bout with coronavirus with ivermectin.

Rodgers said he had taken ivermectin, which can only be obtained with a prescription. The drug is given to both humans and horses to treat parasites.