- Sen. Rand Paul says that he doesn’t need to be vaccinated because he contracted COVID-19 last year.
- “I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul said on WABC 770 AM.
- Paul has repeatedly clashed with Dr. Anthony Fauci over medical recommendations to fight COVID-19.
- See more stories on Insider’s business page.
GOP Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Sunday said that he won’t take a COVID-19 vaccination shot to protect against the highly infectious disease.
During a WABC 770 AM radio interview with New York businessman John Catsimatidis, Paul, a trained ophthalmologist, said that he made his decision based on the fact that he already contracted COVID-19 in March 2020.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that individuals who previously had COVID-19 should still get vaccinated because there is no timetable for natural immunity.
Paul said that until he feels assured that immunity through vaccination is more effective than natural immunity, he will skip taking any shots.
“Until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers, or being hospitalized or getting very sick, I just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and I have natural immunity,” Paul emphasized.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious-disease expert, said earlier this month that new studies have shown that vaccines increase any natural protection against new COVID-19 variants that individuals may have had from a previous infection.
“Vaccines, actually, at least with regard to SARS-CoV-2 [the coronavirus] can do better than nature,” he said. “Vaccination in people previously infected significantly boosts the immune response.”
Paul has repeatedly clashed with Fauci over the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Last November, Paul blasted Fauci, alleging that he “tends to gloss over the science” on COVID-19 immunity.
“Dr. Fauci is like ‘oh, woe is me,’ until the election occurs and now, maybe he’ll be changing his attitude,” he said.
Paul’s attitude has differed dramatically from that of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, his fellow Bluegrass State Republican, who has supported Fauci and publicly urged Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine.
In the interview, Paul said that people who had contracted COVID-19 and recovered did not need to wear masks.
“We have 11 million people in our country who’ve already had COVID,” he said on Fox News at the time. “We should tell them to celebrate. We should tell them to throw away their masks, go to restaurants, live again, because these people are now immune.”
Paul told WABC 770 that taking the COVID-19 vaccine is a personal decision and should not be compulsory.
“In a free country you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision, that it wouldn’t be a big brother coming to tell me what I have to do,” he said. “Are they also going to tell me I can’t have a cheeseburger for lunch? Are they going to tell me that I have to eat carrots only and cut my calories?”
He added: “All that would probably be good for me, but I don’t think big brother ought to tell me to do it.”
Read more: Assassination threats, AOC potshots, and wolf teats: 2 wild weeks inside Marjorie Taylor Greene’s Georgia district as it flips a giant middle finger at DC
Paul’s comments come at the US looks to increase the numbers of individuals who are vaccinated after the initial vaccination demand has subsided in recent weeks.
According to the CDC, 61.1 percent of adults have received at least one vaccination shot and 49.2 percent of the adult population is now fully vaccinated.
Since the pandemic began in the US, over 589,000 people have died, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
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