“Stillwater” star Matt Damon understands vaccine hesitancy, but trusts science “more than something you read on Facebook.”
Damon and “Contagion” co-stars Lawrence Fishburne and Kate Winslet shot PSA’s encouraging social distancing at the beginning of the pandemic.
“Now is the time you can spend all the time you want staring at your phone or your tablet, and if anybody gives you a hard time about it, tell them not to bother you because you are saving lives,” he said at the time. “Just make sure that you tell them that from six feet away.”
In the film, Damon’s character was immune to a quickly spreading virus that killed 26 million people worldwide after originating in China when a bat infected a pig that was slaughtered by a chef, who infected Damon’s character’s wife when she shook his unwashed hand at a Macau casino.
“Other generations have been asked to do extraordinary things,” Damon told viewers. “We’re being asked to just stay at home.”
Over a year later, Damon still believes in the PSA’s message. “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 remarked. “It’s just about looking at this as a ‘me’ thing or an ‘us’ thing.”
Though he does believe in the personal autonomy of the nation’s citizens. “But look, 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,” he continued. “But I fall heavily on the side of trusting science more than something you read on Facebook.”
Damon also understands why some people don’t want to be vaccinated. “There are a lot of reasons that people have, and I don’t want to belittle them,” he concluded.
“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.”