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In an interview with Yahoo Entertainment for the upcoming Focus Features crime drama Stillwater, which recently had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, the actor shared why vaccine hesitancy — and achieving herd immunity — are personally important to him.
“There are a lot of reasons that people have [for being vaccine-hestiant], and I don’t want to belittle them,” Damon said. “It’s tough for me. I have a couple friends who are immunocompromised, and they can’t get the vaccine, so they have no choice but to rely on the rest of us to do our part to get to herd immunity. So I look at it that way.”
According to the Center for Disease Control, as of July 21, only 48.8 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated.
While Damon acknowledged that there are various reasons why people have not or can not get vaccinated, he noted that people also have the right to choose whether to take the vaccine, but that for him, the answer on whether to get vaccinated is very clear.
“It’s a personal choice. That’s the beauty of America: It’s a free country. And none of us would have it any other way,” the actor said. “But I fall heavily on the side of trusting science more than something you read on Facebook.”
In 2020, Damon participated in “Control the Contagion,” a PSA campaign that featured the actor alongside director Steven Soderbergh, writer Scott Z. Burns and other castmembers from 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion.
Following renewed focus on the movie in light of the pandemic’s start and nationwide quarantines and shutdowns, production company Participant Media and scientists from Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health helped create the series of public service announcements that covered topics like proper social distancing and handwashing, offered tips on how to stay safe, and debunked myths about COVID-19.
“Other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things, we’re being asked to just stay at home,” Damon said in his own PSA.
During his recent interview, Damon expounded on his feelings around how people have responded to pandemic precautions and vaccinations, stressing that he wished there had been more focus on what people could do collectively instead of as individuals.
“I wish at the beginning of this people came out and said, ‘Look, if we all do this, then we’ll protect each other better,’ rather than, ‘Well, I’m not in this cohort so I don’t have to worry and it’s not going to hurt me that much,'” he said. “It’s just about looking at this as a ‘me’ thing or an ‘us’ thing.”
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