Dr. Phil McGraw isn't here for the ongoing COVID-19 vaccine conspiracy theories. As the United States continues to record high numbers of daily coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, McGraw, who is heading into the 20th season of his namesake talk show next week, handed out some scathing comments during a recent chat with James Corden on Thursday's Late Late Show.
Speaking about the conspiracy theories that have run rampant amid the country's ongoing efforts to vaccinate more people, McGraw noted that he has "talked to so many people who aren't taking it because they think they're being injected with a tracking device." McGraw went on to candidly ask, "are you f—ing kidding me" before pointing out some contradictions with that excuse, noting that people who carry phones have been being tracked since they were young. He went on to point out that these conspiracy theories have potentially deadly consequences, as "90% of the people that are dying are not vaccinated, do the math, this isn't hard. This is not chess, it's checkers. This is easy to figure out." He went on to acknowledge that it can be difficult to have loved ones refusing to get the vaccine and offered advice on how to approach such scenarios.
"I just try and say to people, 'Look, it's more than about you. Maybe you get the vaccine for other people and not for yourself. You get it so you don't make other people ill," he said. "But I do support getting the vaccination. I've gotten the vaccination. I support everybody getting the vaccination. And I hope people do."
This is not the first time McGraw has addressed vaccine hesitancy. Sitting down for a chat with Dr. John Whyte, the Chief Medical Officer at WebMD, in early August, McGraw spoke about how one can address vaccine hesitancy with friends and friendly, albeit a little less scathing than his most recent comments. McGraw suggested that people "set aside a time to talk about it...and as in any disagreement that you have in the family, I think it's really important that you start out with the goal to be understood, to be heard, not necessarily to be agreed with. Because that's where you set up the conflict where people bow their neck and start to get defensive and resistant." McGraw added that he believes one of the biggest obstacles is confirmation bias, because "with confirmation bias, when you get information that's contrary to your belief, the psychological tendency is it deepens your belief."
As the Delta variant continues to lead to increased hospitalizations and deaths, President Joe Biden on Thursday announced a sweeping new COVID-19 vaccine mandate in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. According to CBS News, the mandate, which will affect approximately 100 million Americans, includes a vaccine mandate for all federal workers and contractors, as well as a requirement that large companies must mandate vaccines or regular testing for employees. In announcing the mandate, Biden said, "my job as president is to protect all Americans...the bottom line - we're going to protect vaccinated workers from unvaccinated coworkers."