Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday he is not getting vaccinated because he already had Covid-19.
Speaking with a conservative radio host on WABC radio, Paul, an Ophthalmologist, said he won’t change his mind unless he sees evidence that people who have already been infected are again getting very sick, needing hospitalization or dying.
“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 said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that those who have been previously infected get vaccinated because experts are not certain of how long natural immunity lasts.
Paul was the first known senator to contract the virus when he tested positive in March 2020.
His comments come at a time when vaccine demand has fallen with roughly 60 percent of American adults having so far received at least one dose.
Republicans including former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have promoted getting vaccinated and both have been.
Yet Republicans remain one of, if not the most, vaccine-hesitant or refusing demographic. A recent PBS/NPR/Marist poll found that more than four-in-10 Republicans say they have no plans to get vaccinated.
Paul for months has said his natural immunity makes it so getting a vaccine is unnecessary, though scientists say the evidence around long-lasting natural immunity is murky.
A steadfast opponent of Covid mitigation measures and mask mandates, Paul has repeatedly clashed at Senate hearing with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, arguing over topics from herd immunity to the origins of the virus.