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Sen. Rand Paul says he won’t get COVID-19 vaccine

US Senator Rand Paul

US Senator Rand Paul says he will not be getting vaccinated against COVID-19 until he sees evidence that vaccination is more effective than natural immunity to the disease.

Speaking with a conservative radio host on WABC radio, Paul, an ophthalmologist who tested positive with the coronavirus in March 2020, said he would not change his mind about inoculation until it has been established that people who have already contracted the virus are as vulnerable as those who have not.

“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,” the Kentucky Republican said on Sunday.

That is against recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which advises people who have previously been infected to get vaccinated as health experts are unsure about how long natural immunity will last.

Paul’s comment comes as the United States seeks to push through a decline in vaccine demand as data from the CDC shows that roughly 60 percent of American adults have received at least one dose.

Recent polling has shown that Republicans are generally more hesitant to get a COVID-19 jab than Democrats and independents.

In this file photo, Audrey Vakker, 14, looks on as she gets a COVID-19 jab at a vaccination clinic in Fairfax, Virginia, on May 13, 2021. (By AFP)

One poll from PBS NewsHour/NPR/ Marist found that 41 percent of Republicans say they do not plan to get vaccinated, as opposed to only 4 percent of Democrats.

Senator Paul, a steadfast opponent of coronavirus restrictions, said Sunday that vaccination should be a personal choice and that no one should be forced to get a jab.

“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,” he said.

Earlier this month, President Joe Biden announced a plan to vaccinate 75 percent of American adults – about 240 million people – with at least one dose by the Fourth of July.

Polls have shown that up to a quarter of American adults said they do not plan to get the vaccine.

The US is recording fewer than 30,000 daily infections for the first time in nearly a year. The country is seeing an average of 552 COVID-10 deaths per day, according to data from the John Hopkins University.

The virus has taken more than 588,000 lives in the US since the start of the pandemic.

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