Aaron Rodgers challenges Travis Kelce to Covid vaccine debate

Dustin Satloff

Sidelined New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers on Tuesday challenged Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce to debate the effectiveness of Covid vaccines.

The two pro football standouts have been trading barbs since Rodgers mocked Kelce for partnering with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer in a campaign to encourage Americans to get their flu shots and Covid vaccine.

Rodgers mocked Kelce, calling him "Mr. Pfizer," before fans fired back at the QB, pointing out that he's "Mr. Johnson & Johnson" playing for the Jets — owned by Johnson & Johnson pharmaceutical heir Woody Johnson.

“Who knew I’d get into the vax wars with Aaron Rodgers, man?," Kelce joked with reporters last week. "Mr. Pfizer versus the Johnson & Johnson family over there.”

Rodgers didn't mention Kelce's name during the QB's weekly check in on “The Pat McAfee Show” on Tuesday, but he clearly had the Chiefs star in mind when referencing the ongoing debate.

"I made a tiny little joke about a guy shilling for a potentially ... corrupt company and everybody kind of loses their minds," Rodgers said.

"Mr. Pfizer said he didn't think he would be in vax war with me. This ain't a war homie. This is just conversation," the amused Rodgers continued. "But if you want to have some sort of duel, debate, have me on the podcast, come on the show, let us have a conversation."

Rodgers' bit included talk of proxy fighters in a comparison to the movie, "John Wick: Chapter 4."

"I'm going to take my man RFK Jr., independent, and he can have, you know, Tony Fauci or some other pharmacrat and we can have a conversation about this," Rodgers said, mentioning independent presidential candidate and anti-vaccine activist Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

Back in 2021, only months after Covid vaccines were first rolled out, Rodgers admitted to making "misleading" comments by saying he was "immunized" against Covid-19, which was taken to mean he was vaccinated.

Rodgers eventually disclosed he hadn't been vaccinated, but had instead taken ivermectin, a drug typically used on livestock and pushed by podcaster Joe Rogan.

Both Covid and flu shots are overwhelmingly safe and effective.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends an annual flu shot for everyones ages six months and older — ideally in October, when flu cases typically start to rise.

People ages six months and older who have not gotten a Covid shot within the last two months should also get an updated Covid vaccine this fall, according to the CDC.

Kelce stood by his endorsement of vaccination while talking to reporters last week.

"I got it because of keeping myself safe, keeping my family safe, the people in this building, so yeah I stand by it 1000%" he said. "I’m fully comfortable with him calling me Mr. Pfizer.”

Before this recent vaccine debate, Kelce had also been in the national spotlight due to his increasingly public relationship with pop superstar, Taylor Swift.

She attended his Chiefs games on Sept. 24 and Oct. 1 , drawing many Swifites to football for the first time.

And in the process the pair has increasingly become the target of conservative vitriol. For years, Swift has urged her young fans to register to vote.