Senate

Rand Paul responds to Colbert on vaccines: ‘Try to ignore your bias’

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.)
Greg Nash

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Tuesday hit back at late-night talk show host Stephen Colbert for criticizing the lawmaker’s reasoning for deciding not to get the COVID-19 vaccine, telling him to “read the science and try to ignore your bias.”

Paul, who tested positive for COVID-19 in March 2020, said in a Sunday interview that he would not be getting vaccinated, arguing that he already has natural immunity from previously being infected. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recommended that anyone who has previously been infected with COVID-19 get the vaccine, saying that experts “do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.” 

Colbert in his Monday episode of CBS’s “The Late Show” questioned Paul’s rationale, noting the uncertainty over how long natural immunity lasts and arguing that the senator’s decision “is going to affect other people.” 

The talk show host then pushed back on Paul’s argument that the CDC “would first have to prove that the vaccine is better than being infected” before recommending that previously infected individuals get the vaccine.

“No, they don’t,” Colbert responded. “They don’t have to prove that seat belts are better than accidents or that wearing a parachute is better than hitting the earth at terminal velocity or that having hot spikes driven into your ears is better than listening to Rand Paul.”

“It’s self-evident,” he added. 

Paul on Tuesday took to Twitter to respond to Colbert’s commentary, sharing a link to an Israeli nationwide study that the senator argued shows “natural infection confers similar immunity to the vaccine.”

The study, which has not yet undergone peer review, noted that, based on individual-level data on Israel’s population, the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccine was similar to the “overall estimated level of protection” from previous COVID-19 infection. 

Paul, who tagged Colbert’s account in his Twitter thread, added, “Once you rise above the vitriol you will discover that the question of immunity for those infected naturally is a HUGE question in countries short of vaccines.”

“Should you ‘waste’ the vaccine on someone previously infected or put it to better use on an elderly person who has not been infected?” Paul questioned.

@StephenAtHome, you’re better than this,” he continued. “Read the science and try to ignore your bias.”

All Americans ages 12 and up are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, and 74 percent of U.S. adults ages 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to CDC data

Overall, approximately 58 percent of the U.S. population ages 12 and older has gotten at least one dose of the vaccines authorized for emergency use, with nearly 47 percent fully vaccinated.

Tags CBS Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; CDC coronavirus vaccine Late Show with Stephen Colbert Rand Paul Senate Stephen Colbert vaccine efficacy vaccine safety

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