Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul says he won’t get COVID-19 vaccine due to natural immunity

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky — Sen. Rand Paul doesn’t plan to get the coronavirus vaccine after contracting the illness early last year, he said in an interview released Sunday.

During a podcast with businessman John Catsimatidis, Paul said, “All the studies show that I have just as good of immunity as the people who have been vaccinated.”

Paul had the first known case of coronavirus in the Senate in March 2020.

“Each individual assumes their own risk, and the thing is, if someone chooses not to be vaccinated and you are vaccinated, they’re not a risk to you,” he said. “They’re taking a risk for themselves.”

But he added if, in a year, people who were previously infected with the virus began becoming sick again at higher rates than those who were vaccinated, he may reconsider.

“It is a serious disease,” Paul said. “But we also know that many people who had other serious diseases, such as metastatic cancer, or other things that they may have been dying from, may have died with COVID and not necessarily from COVID.”

Guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says those who previously contracted the virus should still get vaccinated, as “experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.”

Last week, Paul and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s top infectious diseases expert, debated the necessity of vaccinated people wearing masks during a congressional hearing.

Paul accused Fauci, who has been vaccinated, of wearing double masks for “theater,” a sentiment he reiterated in the interview.

“I’m glad that he’s actually agreeing to follow all the science that if you’ve been vaccinated, there’s no reason why you need to be wearing a mask,” he said Sunday. “It’s just disappointing that it’s taken him three or four months to actually decide to follow the science, and even when he did, he sort of admitted he didn’t want people seeing him without a mask. It wasn’t that the mask was doing any good for him. He was basically wearing it for theater.”

In this image from video, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., makes a motion that the impeachment trial against former President Donald Trump is unconstitutional in the Senate at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. (Senate Television via AP)

Elsewhere in the interview, Paul criticized Democratic governors in states like California, New York and Illinois for failing to fully reopen their states and condemned guidance that children still need to wear masks outside during gatherings like summer camps and sporting events.

“Almost none of the things government told us to do changed the trajectory of this at all,” he said. “The only thing that finally changed the trajectory and limited the virus spread was the vaccine and natural immunity, which all started kicking together at about January and February.”

Contact Ayana Archie at aarchie@courier-journal.com or follow on Twitter @AyanaArchie. Support strong local journalism by subscribing to The Courier Journal.

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