Rand Paul Says He Won't Get Vaccinated Against Coronavirus

Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul speaks at a hearing.
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News & Politics

Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky said in an interview on Sunday that he will not be getting vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.

Paul, who is an ophthalmologist, became the first senator to contract COVID-19 in March 2020, but he did not experience serious or severe symptom.

The senator explained Sunday that he believes he doesn't need to get vaccinated because he has already had the disease and therefore has strong natural immunity, The Hill reported.

It remains unclear how long natural immunity lasts in those that have recovered from COVID-19.

Personal Decision

Speaking with radio host John Catsimatidis, Paul explained that he won't get vaccinated until he's sure immunity from the vaccine is better than natural immunity, even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that those who have recovered from COVID-19 get vaccinated.

"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."

Big Brother

Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul speaks at a press conference.
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Paul argued that America is a "free country," that nobody should tell him what to do and that everyone should have the right to decide whether to get vaccinated or not.

"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?" the senator asked.

"All that would probably be good for me, but I don’t think big brother ought to tell me to do it," he added.

Vaccines

Paul's comments come as President Joe Biden's administration seeks to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and vaccinate the population.

So far, over 60 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of the vaccine and more than 48 percent have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data.

Lawmakers, including Republicans, have urged Americans to get the vaccine. Notably, Paul's fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, who is the Senate Minority Leader, has openly praised the effort to vaccinate the population and tweeted about getting his shot. 

Vaccine Hesitancy 

Paul argued last week that Dr. Anthony Fauci,  the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, is increasing vaccine hesitancy by claiming that even those who are fully vaccinated should keep wearing masks.

According to a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released earlier this month, Republicans are more likely than Democrats to refuse vaccines.

In the survey, 41 percent of Republicans said they do not plan on getting vaccinated. Only four percent of Democrats said the same. 

Overall, 59 percent of respondents in the poll said they have gotten vaccinated, while another 14 percent said they plan to do so.