Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul questioned Dr. Anthony Fauci on the purpose of wearing a face mask after receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
Paul claimed during a Thursday hearing that wearing a mask — or even two masks — after vaccination amounted to little more than “theater,” but Fauci disagreed. (RELATED: ‘I’m Over Dr. Fauci’: Meghan McCain Says Biden Admin Should ‘Put Someone Else In Place That Maybe Does Understand Science’)
Paul began by asking Fauci about “reinfection, hospitalization and death after either natural infection or the vaccine,” saying that there was no data to suggest there were significant numbers to report.
“In fact, I don’t think we have a hospitalization in the United States after the two-week period after the second vaccination. We don’t have a death in the United States,” Paul continued.
“You’re not hearing what I’m saying about variants,” Fauci protested. “We’re talking about wild type versus variants.”
“What proof is there that there is significant reinfections with hospitalizations and death from the variants? None in our country. Zero,” Paul replied.
Fauci argued that over time, variants could become prevalent enough to cause problems and that the only reason post-vaccination infections had not been higher was the fact that had not happened yet.
“You’re making you’re policy based on conjecture — that we’re going to get variants, so you want people to wear masks for another couple years,” Paul pushed back. “You’ve been vaccinated and you parade around in two masks for show.”
Fauci argued that was not the case, but Paul continued: “You can’t get it again. There is almost — there is virtually zero percent chance you’re gonna get it, yet you are telling people who have had the vaccine, who have immunity, you’re defying everything about immunity by telling people to wear masks who’ve been vaccinated.”
“You want to get rid of vaccine hesitancy?” Paul asked. “Tell them they can quit wearing their mask after they get the vaccine. You want people to get the vaccine? Give them a reward instead of telling them that the nanny state is going to be there for three more years and you gotta wear a mask forever. People don’t want to hear it and there’s no science behind it.”
“Let me state for the record that masks are not theater, masks are protective —” Fauci argued, but Paul cut him off again.
“If you have immunity, they are theater. If you already have immunity, you’re wearing a mask to give comfort to others. You’re not wearing a mask because of any science,” Paul said.
“I totally disagree with you,” Fauci replied, going on to explain that vaccinations might only effectively prevent the spread of one variant, leaving those who had been vaccinated able to contract and spread other variants.