Biden sends surprise vaccine message to NFL superstar

US president Joe Biden has used a trip to a tornado-ravaged area to wade into the controversy over Aaron Rodgers’ Covid status, advising the NFL player who attempted to avoid a vaccine row with the “woke mob”.

President Biden was paying a visit to the Midwest, where at least 100 people have been killed by winds of up to 100mph in five states this week, when he made his surprising remark about vaccines.

Surveying scenes where the freak conditions had torn off roofs, toppled trees, overturned vehicles and caused power outages in Mayfield, Kentucky, the head of state stopped to talk to two women.

When he was that one of the women was donning a Green Bay Packers cap and shirt – the team Rodgers plays for – Biden warned: “Tell that quarterback he’s gotta get the vaccine” while the cameras were rolling.

Video footage of the incident showed the two women laughed in response. And while Rodgers is yet to address this latest episode in the saga, he may well do if he appears again on the Pat McAfee Show, which has provided the stage for the controversy. 

In early November, Rodgers appeared on the popular program to address accusations that he had lied about having the vaccine because he claimed he was “immunized” and went on to contract Covid.

“I realize I’m in the crosshairs of the woke mob right now, so before my final nail gets put in my cancel culture casket, I think I’d like to set the record straight on so many of the blatant lies that are out there about myself right now,” he told the show.

I didn’t lie in the initial press conference. During that time there was a very…  a ‘witch hunt’ that was going on across the league where everybody in the media was so concerned about who was vaccinated and who wasn’t, and what that meant and who was being selfish and who would talk about it.

“[It was about] what they meant when they said it was a ‘personal decision’, [and that] they shouldn’t have to disclose their own medical information… and at the time, my plan was to say that I had been immunized. It wasn’t some sort of ruse or lie – it was the truth,” he clarified.

Days later, White House press secretary Jen Psaki publicly criticized Rodgers for spreading “misinformation”.

“I’m not an anti-vaxx flat-earther,” the 38-year-old insisted, saying he had consulted popular UFC commentator and podcaster Joe Rogan over alternative treatments.

“I have an allergy to an ingredient that’s in the mRNA vaccines. I found a long-term immunization protocol to protect myself and I’m very proud of the research that went into that.”

As Rodgers faced widespread backlash and lost sponsors, those close to him told People that he was “very unhappy with the response”.

Rodgers returned to the program and apologized, acknowledging that he is “a role model to a lot of people”.

“I made some comments that people might have felt were misleading. To anybody who felt misled by those comments, I take full responsibility,” he accepted.

Many of the Biden administration’s rules and regulations aimed at increasing vaccination in the US have been held up or quashed by courts recently.

Republican state attorneys general, businesses and religious groups have claimed that the administration has gone beyond its authority in a country where Covid is thought to have killed around 800,000 people.

Biden’s legislation moves have included an executive order in September requiring federal contracts to include clauses mandating contractors to make employees take jabs.

An order in the same month effectively required almost 97 percent of federal employees to get vaccinated by mid-November.

Rodgers missed a defeat to the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 9 due to Covid but has since helped the Packers to a 10-3 record with four games of the regular season remaining.

On Sunday, he provided four touchdowns and 341 passing yards in an outstanding performance as part of 45-30 win over the Chicago Bears, and he is set to feature against the Baltimore Ravens on the road next time out.

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