(CNN)Rand Paul has no plans to get vaccinated against the virus that causes Covid-19.
He made that quite clear in a radio interview Sunday, explaining:”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.”It is true that Paul has already had Covid-19; he tested positive way back in mid-March 2020. (Paul created a huge national controversy when he continued to interact with people in the Senate after he had been potentially exposed.)But is he right that having had the virus means he shouldn’t get vaccinated?Read MoreScience says no.”Public health guidance on this is crystal clear,” Dr. Jay Varkey, associate professor of medicine at Emory University, told CNN’s John King. “Even if someone has already had Covid-19 and recovered, like Rand Paul, they should be vaccinated. … We don’t yet know exactly how long immunity lasts after infection.”There’s also this from the CDC:
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“Yes, you should be vaccinated regardless of whether you already had COVID-19. That’s because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19. 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.”Health and science aside, there’s also the symbolism and messaging question. If we know that a) herd immunity is the only way the country really returns to normal and b) the path to herd immunity runs through mass vaccinations, then the responsible thing for elected officials to do is advocate for people to get vaccinated. When someone like Paul does the exact opposite, he sends the wrong kind of message: that getting vaccinated is about individual liberties and “Big Brother” (words he used in that same radio interview).The Point: Paul, who has publicly feuded with Dr. Anthony Fauci repeatedly during the pandemic, seems to believe that he knows better than experts in the field of infectious disease. Here’s a news flash: He does not.