Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) says that he won't get vaccinated against COVID-19, explaining that he already contracted the virus last year and has "natural immunity."
Paul has made similar remarks in the past when interviewed about vaccines. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), who also recovered from COVID-19, suggested he wouldn't get the vaccine earlier this year.
Paul tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020, becoming the first senator to contract the virus. At the time, Paul said he didn't develop any notable symptoms and wasn't hospitalized.
The senator also noted that the pressure from various institutions to get vaccinated flies in the face of individual liberty.
“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,” Paul said in the interview, suggesting that the pressure campaign around vaccines could be an attempt to manufacture consent for other power grabs.
“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.”
“Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again,” the CDC says on its website.
Paul's comments come as some states and municipalities have attempted to place pressure on businesses trying to reopen by ascertaining whether their employees have been vaccinated.