Skip to main content

On A Late Show With Stephen Colbert

Posted on by Dr. Francis Collins

It was fun appearing virtually on A Late Show with Stephen Colbert on May 24. In this clip taken from our longer conversation, Stephen asked for my thoughts on the nation emerging carefully back to public life and the future challenges of attaining herd immunity in the U.S. to SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. Stephen also mentioned my Christian faith. That gave me a chance to talk about my ongoing conversations with others of faith to encourage them to accept the gift of a COVID-19 vaccine.


  • Carol says:

    I would like more research and publicity for healthy covid 19 treatments for all. There are people, such as myself, whom can not receive the vaccines due to experiences of seriously life threatening reactions to chemicals in the vaccines, such as polyethylene glycol in the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, and polysorbate in the J & J vaccine. In light of my body’s seriously life threatening response to a chemical in the vaccines, I wonder how healthy the vaccines are for anyone/everyone long term? I would like to see more funding and focus on developing and disseminating information about healthier preventative and treatment options.

    • John Mark Shields says:

      Every compound we eat and drink is a ‘chemical’ – or a mix of them. Nothing is always safe.

      In my first clinical rotation, I had a patient die over-night of psychogenic polydipsia – drinking water – a chemical.

      One tries things, keeps records, compares, and establishes ‘safe enough’ given the alternatives, or given the benefits.

      One then keeps records as masses of people try things, compares them, and begins over time to establish personally-tuned safety profiles – again, given the alternatives and benefits. Recommendations change as knowledge changes.

      There’s a principle to which all mortal beings eventually bow: there’s not much to be gained for most in expending efforts preventing something that is fatal in 100 years, if one is doing 100 others that are fatal in 50. After vaccinating, seat-belting & avoiding injuries, sleeping, weight controlling, exercising, listening, loving well, and 1000 other more important (on average) interventions and exposures – then, if you are still alive, you can think about ethylene glycol, or just smile with someone you love and the memories of a life better spent.

      Your life, your call. Survey the waterfront before getting excited by a ripple under a light.

  • Ferdinand says:

    There are plenty of places around the globe that also don’t have the luxury of getting vaccines, nor the health facilities to evaluate potential issues from vaccines that are EUA. Perhaps they need faith and masks especially since in many instances, poorer countries do not have the luxury of “social distancing”.
    Not only that, the US also has plenty of data of medicines that causes issues in the long term requiring black box warnings and in some cases withdrawal from market years after they have been approved. Comes down to risk benefit and that requires flow of information from relevant experts when it becomes available. I would assume that is the advantage of being in a free society. EU and North America make up 1 billion of the global 7+ billion.

  • Lynn says:

    Can’t believe you are a part of this, that you did this to us

Leave a Comment