MILWAUKEE — In an open letter, a recent Wisconsin med school graduate and Green Bay Packers fan has called out the team's quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, for spreading vaccine misinformation in an interview late last week.
Now, she wants to set the record straight.
Like other Packers fans across Wisconsin, Dr. Allison Neitzel says she was surprised to learn that Rodgers had not been vaccinated against COVID. But what was even more surprising to Neitzel was the statements Rodgers made about why he wouldn't get the vaccine.
"It's just disappointing as a Wisconsinite, as a Packers fan, and a doctor. We are fighting this twin pandemic of coronavirus, but also this misinformation," Neitzel said.
Rodgers said he chose not to get vaccinated because he has an allergy to an ingredient found in both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines, though he did not provide specifics. He also said that he chose not to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine because he was concerned it could cause blood clots, even though the FDA and the CDC say the benefits of the J&J vaccine far outweigh the risks.
Rodgers also told the Pat McAfee Show that he's treating his infection with Ivermectin — a drug that has not been approved for use in treating COVID. He also questioned the effectiveness of the COVID vaccine because of breakthrough cases.
Neitzel says those statements are doing more harm than good when it comes to fighting the pandemic.
"It does feel a bit like he's actively undermining what we're trying to do," Neitzel said.
That's why Neitzel wrote an open letter to Rodgers and the entire Green Bay Packers organization on Twitter in hopes of shedding light on the benefits of the vaccine.
"Fully vaccinated individuals are 10x less likely to experience hospitalization and death from COVID-19 infection," Neitzel wrote. "Breakthrough cases are expected because each person's immune system is different."
"Teach him about the vaccines, about the safety, the efficacy, the public health impacts," Neitzel said.
She hopes that by starting a conversation, Rodgers and the medical community can move forward as one to help beat this pandemic.
"He's in a position to really motivate the state of Wisconsin in the nation at large to get vaccinated. Instead of furthering this divide, let's open doors," Neitzel said.
This story was originally published by Taylor Lumpkin on Scripps station TMJ4 in Milwaukee.