After White House adviser Dr. Anthony Fauci and Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra issued warnings about a new COVID-19 subvariant, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said they are not providing key facts about the latest strain.
“How come the flu vaccine changes every year and they’re not willing to change this vaccine?” Paul told Fox News on Tuesday. “Now, you might have me with an argument. I’ll listen to you if you tell me, ‘We’ve got a new vaccine that actually has something to do with the current virus,'” he said.
It came after Fauci, who has given hundreds of media interviews since the start of the pandemic, told CNN this week that the Omicron subvariant BA.5 is concerning due to its high transmissibility. People infected in the first COVID-19 waves “really don’t have a lot of good protection” against the latest subvariant, Fauci also said at a White House briefing several days ago.
But Paul, himself a doctor, told Fox that Omicron “was about 90 percent less likely to put you in the hospital than the first variant,” saying that Americans should “discount” what both Fauci and Becerra are saying about the latest subvariant.
“So if no one’s telling you any information, how can you make any judgment other than the emotionalism and the sensationalism of the government?” he asked.
Fauci himself was infected with COVID-19 several weeks ago and confirmed he took Pfizer drug Paxlovid before his symptoms recurred, although he’s received two booster shots.
In a recent interview, Fauci conceded that most COVID-19 vaccines don’t protect “overly well” against the latest variant. However, he used that statement to claim that they are effective at limiting the most severe symptoms.
“At my age, being vaccinated and boosted, even though it didn’t protect me against infection, I feel confident that it made a major role in protecting me from progressing to severe disease,” said Fauci, who is 81 and has worked in various capacities in the federal government since the late 1960s.
In a recent interview with the Washington Post, Fauci suggested that Americans ages 5 to 50 should be allowed to get a second booster shot.
The federal government, he argued, “need[s] to allow people who are under 50 to get their second booster shot, since it may have been months since many of them got their first booster.”
“If I got my third shot [in 2021], it is very likely the immunity is waning,” Fauci proclaimed.
The Epoch Times has contacted the National Institutes of Health for comment.