Hugh Laurie, the brazen British funnyman and star of medical drama House, has recently given his thoughts on self-proclaimed “independent thinkers” with many suspecting he is referring to the anti-vaccine movement, particularly those who are unreasonably skeptical of COVID vaccines.
“I find the injunction ‘think for yourself' very stirring — until I remember that I could never have conceived of 99% of the concepts I rely on every day to survive,” Laurie tweeted last week. “I’m extremely grateful to those who have thought for me.”
It’s not the first time Laurie has spoken out on this issue. Back in December 2020, when the first COVID vaccines became available, he tweeted: “I’m sure lots of people have said this already — I just haven’t seen it anywhere — but thank you to all the scientists, researchers, administrators, technicians, logisticians for bringing this extraordinary vaccine into existence.”
Of course, Laurie is not a medically trained doctor. However, he famously played the pill-popping infectious disease specialist Dr Gregory House in the much-acclaimed Fox series. When the COVID-19 pandemic was first taking root in March 2020, Laurie shared what advice he thought his character might give: "I can't speak for House, obviously — no one's written clever words for me to say — but I'm pretty sure he'd tell you it's not a matter of 'solving' Covid. This is an epidemic, not a diagnostic problem. We solve it together by staying apart."
Hardcore fans of the show may even remember the episode where a young mother comes to the clinic and House uses some dark humor to convince her to vaccinate her child.
An actor's views on medicine (or anything other than acting, really) shouldn't be taken as gospel without other evidence, even if they do play a misanthropic doctor rather convincingly. In fact, pointing out that experts on a subject are experts for a reason — they've put in the time, effort, study, thought, and analysis — and if you are not an expert on something like vaccines then no amount of research (googling) dressed up as "independent thinking" is equal to that, is Laurie's point.
Nevertheless, It's pretty obvious the overwhelming majority of scientists and doctors would back him on this one.
Figures from the American Medical Association collected June 2021 show that over 96 percent of surveyed physicians in the US were fully vaccinated for COVID-19. That figure is only expected to have gone up since. Due to a new mandate pushed through by the Biden Administration last week, stating that all healthcare workers, as well as federal employees and teachers, must receive a vaccination or they could face a hefty fine.