Aaron Rodgers 'Didn't Expect' Negative Response to Vaccination Statements, Is 'Very Unhappy': Source

A source close to the NFL star tells PEOPLE that Aaron Rodgers "feels like he just shared his point of view, and now he's being crucified for it"

Aaron Rodgers isn't happy with the way his decision not to get vaccinated against COVID-19 has been received.

The Green Bay Packers star is "upset" at the response to his recent admission that he is not vaccinated against COVID-19 after previously saying that he had been "immunized" against the virus, a source close to the NFL star tells PEOPLE.

The source says that Rodgers "feels like he just shared his point of view, and now he's being crucified for it."

"He knew some people would disagree with him, but he didn't know that it would become the s---storm it became. People who he thought were friends are turning on him," the source tells PEOPLE.

"He's upset," the insider adds. "He's very unhappy with the response to him."

After Rodgers was placed on the Packers' reserve/COVID-19 list last week, he appeared on the Pat McAfee Show Friday to "set the record straight" after it was revealed that he hadn't actually gotten a COVID-19 vaccine. During the interview, he argued that he hadn't lied about being immunized he had taken ivermectin, a drug used foremost to treat or prevent parasites in animals. The FDA has not authorized or approved the drug for use in treating or preventing COVID-19, and in cases where it was taken, people have been hospitalized.

Aaron Rodgers #12 of the Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers. Harry How/Getty

Rodgers said he was allergic to an ingredient in the mRNA vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna), and did not want to receive the Johnson & Johnson shot because he claimed, "I had heard of multiple people who had had adverse events around getting the J&J."

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He also said that he had done extensive research into COVID-19 prevention, including consulting with podcast host Joe Rogan, who contracted the virus in September.

The source tells PEOPLE that "of course Joe Rogan wasn't the only one who he consulted. He's talked to medical professionals, too."

"Aaron feels like he's an athlete, he knows about his body more than most people, and he made a choice for himself," the source says.

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Still, many have been skeptical at Rodgers' explanation — and several high-profile athletes have spoken out against the quarterback's reasoning.

Rodgers' comments also seem to have impacted his personal brand. Two days after his appearance on the Pat McAfee Show, only 1.5 percent of State Farm ads included Rodgers, whereas 25 percent had included the athlete both Sundays prior, according to Apex Marketing Group, USA Today reported.

In a statement to USA Today, a State Farm spokesperson said that while the company respects Rodgers' "right to have his own personal point of view," it also encourages vaccinations.

"Aaron Rodgers has been a great ambassador for our company for much of the past decade," the spokesperson said. "We don't support some of the statements that he has made, but we respect his right to have his own personal point of view. We recognize our customers, employees, agents and brand ambassadors come from all walks of life, with differing viewpoints on many issues."

"Our mission at State Farm is to support safer, stronger communities," they added. "To that end, we encourage vaccinations, but respect everyone's right to make a choice based on their personal circumstances."

A study released earlier this year by the CDC found that among people who are fully vaccinated, the risk of COVID-19 infection was reduced by 91 percent. Additionally, the risk of infection among those who were partially vaccinated was 81 percent lower.

The study involved almost 4,000 essential workers who completed weekly testing for 17 weeks from December to April.

Researchers also found that participants who did contract the virus experienced milder symptoms.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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