Jennifer Aniston is looking at the bigger picture when it comes to the importance of getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Friends star, 52, was met with criticism recently after she revealed that she cut ties with “a few people” in her inner circle because they didn’t get vaccinated or disclose their vaccine status. And on Thursday, she faced her detractors head-on, sharing her thoughts on the subject again to her Instagram Story.
In her post, Aniston responded to a fan who had asked, “But if [Jennifer’s] vaccinated she’s protected correctly? Why be worried about [having unwanted people] around her?”
Aniston explained, “Because if you have the variant, you are still able to give it to me,” referring to breakthrough cases of COVID-19 infections.
“I may get slightly sick but I will not be admitted to a hospital and or die,” the Golden Globe winner continued. “BUT I CAN give it to someone who does not have the vaccine and whose health is compromised (or has a previously existing condition) — and therefore I would put their lives at risk.”
“THAT is why I worry,” Aniston said. “We have to care about more than just ourselves.”
After that, Aniston posted another Instagram Story of embroidery that said, “What doesn’t kill you mutates and tries again.”
Breakthrough cases are COVID-19 infections that occur in people who have been fully vaccinated against the virus — are rare, but possible and expected, as the vaccines are not 100% effective in preventing infections. Still, vaccinated people who test positive will likely be asymptomatic or experience a far milder illness than if they were not vaccinated. The majority of deaths from COVID-19 — around 98 to 99% — are in unvaccinated people.
Aniston first opened up about her decision to weed out some people in her friend group based on vaccination status in an interview with InStyle for their September cover interview.
“There’s still a large group of people who are anti-vaxxers or just don’t listen to the facts. It’s a real shame,” she said in the piece, which was shared digitally on Tuesday. “I’ve just lost a few people in my weekly routine who have refused or did not disclose [whether or not they had been vaccinated], and it was unfortunate.”
The actress continued. “I feel it’s your moral and professional obligation to inform since we’re not all podded up and being tested every single day. It’s tricky because everyone is entitled to their own opinion — but a lot of opinions don’t feel based in anything except fear or propaganda.”
Aniston was quick to advocate for social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions when the pandemic began in March 2020. She later pleaded with her 37.7 million followers to wear a mask.
“This simple and effective recommendation is being politicized at the expense of peoples’ lives. And it really shouldn’t be a debate,” she wrote on Instagram last June.
The Morning Show also revealed last July that friend Kevin was fighting for his life in the hospital due to COVID-19 and urged the importance of wearing a mask.
“Just think about those who’ve already suffered through this horrible virus,” she captioned a photo of Kevin hooked up to machines. “Do it for your family. And most of all yourself. Covid affects all ages.”
Back in June, Aniston told PEOPLE about the importance she’s found in meditating “every day” as the pandemic continues to rage on.
“I just have faith in a bigger picture, I guess,” she said. “And I believe in humanity, even though there’s so much to discourage us from believing in it — but I do.”