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‘I fall heavily on the side of trusting science.’ Matt Damon talks about the importance of getting vaccinated

Matt Damon attends the "Stillwater" press conference during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 9 in France.
Matt Damon attends the "Stillwater" press conference during the 74th annual Cannes Film Festival on July 9 in France.Kate Green/Getty

In a new interview, Matt Damon spoke about the dangers of COVID vaccine hesitancy and expressed concern for those who are at especially high risk for the virus because they are immunocompromised.

In a video interview with Yahoo Entertainment, Damon, 50, said he knows that many eligible individuals in the US are choosing not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, putting people who are immunocompromised in greater danger.

“There are a lot of reasons that people have, and I don’t want to belittle them. It’s tough for me,” said the star of the upcoming film “Stillwater.” “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 kind of get to herd immunity.”

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Damon, who grew up in Cambridge, starred in 2011′s “Contagion.” In it, Damon played the husband of patient zero (played by Gwyneth Paltrow), who falls victim to a deadly respiratory virus that quickly transforms into a chaos-inducing pandemic.

In March 2020, Damon and the other stars of “Contagion” partnered with Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health to make informational videos about the virus. Damon, whose “Contagion” character was naturally immune to the fictional virus, made a video focused on social distancing.

“That was a movie. This is real life,” he said in the March 2020 PSA. “I have no reason to believe that I’m immune to COVID-19, and neither do you, no matter how young you are.”

While about 62.6 percent of Massachusetts residents are fully vaccinated, the nationwide number lags far behind at 48.8 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. President Biden and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, have pointed to vaccine hesitancy and resistance as a cause of the recent increase in coronavirus cases.

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“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 in this cohort, so I don’t have to worry, and it’s not going to hurt me that much,’” Damon said in the Yahoo interview. “It’s just about looking at it as a ‘me’ thing or as an ‘us’ thing.”

Damon stopped short of imploring people to get vaccinated, instead calling it “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 said. “But, look, I fall heavily on the side of trusting science more than something you read on Facebook.”


Dana Gerber can be reached at dana.gerber@globe.com