Matthew McConaughey Says He Opposes Vaccine Mandates for Kids for Now

Matthew McConaughey has not had his kids vaccinated against COVID-19,
Matthew McConaughey has not had his kids vaccinated against COVID-19, UT Moody College of Communication/CC BY-SA 2.0
Texas’ No. 1 romantic comedy star Matthew McConaughey is reportedly considering a run for governor. So far, he's been tight-lipped about what he believes, but now that he has opened up, we're even more confused.

While the actor has won an Academy Award, he’s never held political office. He also doesn’t have a science background, which is only worth noting now that he’s revealed his stance on coronavirus vaccines.

During a Tuesday interview with New York Times journalist Andrew Ross Sorkin, the Texas actor offered a glimpse into his mind. Yet somehow, the three-minute interview clip left viewers with far more questions than answers.

Mask mandates should have come “quick and easy” because they’re a “small inconvenience for possible long-term freedom,” McConaughey said. The pandemic got politicized early on, he continued, with people on “both sides” of the political aisle exaggerating COVID claims.

Yet now, nine weeks into college football season, McConaughey seemed amazed that there haven’t been reports of “super-spreader” events. Of course, it’s worth noting that most Americans have been vaccinated. Games also typically occur outdoors, where transmission is much less likely.

“So now the question really does not even seem as much: ‘Are you vaccinated?’” McConaughey told the journalist. “Because I think we’re living in a pandemic world for the rest of time now.”


At that, Sorkin pressed the actor for his thoughts on children's vaccinations, citing Texas U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s recent social media duel with the Sesame Street character Big Bird.

Here, McConaughey seemed momentarily stumped. Before answering, he removed his '80s-porn-producer glasses and rubbed his eyes. He then gazed into the distance before launching into an airtight argument against child vaccine mandates.

“Do I want to trust in the science? Do I think that there’s any kind of scam or conspiracy theory? Hell no, I don’t,” he said. “No, I don’t think there’s any kind of — we’ve all got to get off that narrative. There’s not a conspiracy theory on the vaccines. These are scientists trying to do the right thing.”

Most scientists would likely agree with McConaughey’s generous view that they’ve been “trying to do the right thing” by helping inoculate humans from a deadly virus.

McConaughey then shared that he and his wife are vaccinated, and that they live with his 90-year-old immunocompromised mom. Still, he admitted, he’s not vaccinating his own kids.

When asked why, especially given that they live with his elderly mother, McConaughey had this to say: “We go slow on vaccinations anyway, even before COVID. Now mind you, we’ve quarantined harder than any of our friends have, and still are, two years later.”

Next, McConaughey performed pivot after pivot before finally returning to the question at hand. Sort of.

In the McConaughey household, they’ve been doing a “heavy amount of testing when and everywhere [they] can,” he said. They do things outdoors. They take at-home tests. But, he added, he’s “in a position” that allows him to do that, and he understands that not everyone can.

Finally, after wagging his finger excitedly at the camera, McConaughey admitted that no, he couldn’t bring himself to require COVID-19 vaccines for kids. Not now, anyway.

“I still want to find out more information,” he said, “but I couldn’t mandate it for kids just yet. No.”

In September, polling found that McConaughey actually has a shot at the governor's mansion. The survey from The Dallas Morning News and the University of Texas at Tyler placed the actor ahead of Gov. Greg Abbott by nine points.

Public health experts say the COVID-19 vaccine is safe for kids and saves lives. 
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Simone Carter, a staff news reporter at the Dallas Observer, graduated from the University of North Texas' Mayborn School of Journalism. Her favorite color is red, but she digs Miles Davis' Kind of Blue.
Contact: Simone Carter