Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) is urging Americans who are vaccinated against COVID-19 to return to some semblance of normal life.
The Kentucky senator has even urged people to “throw your mask away” after receiving the vaccine.
However, health experts say Americans should still wear masks after they get the vaccine because there is a chance they could still transmit the virus.
During a Senate hearing Thursday, Paul had some questions for Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, about why he suggests people should continue to wear masks after getting vaccinated.
“You’re telling everybody to wear a mask, whether they’ve had an infection or vaccine. What I’m saying is they have immunity, and everybody agrees they have immunity,” Paul said.
He asked, “What studies do you have that people who’ve had the vaccine or have had the infection are spreading the infection? If we’re not spreading the infection isn’t it just theater?”
Fauci interjected, “No, it’s not…”
Paul interrupted to ask, “You have the vaccine, and you’re wearing two masks, isn’t that theater?”
“Here we go again with the theater,” Fauci responded as he said the studies that Paul relied on to claim people who are vaccinated cannot spread the virus were “in vitro” and do “not necessarily pertain to the actual protection.”
Watch the video below:
Dr. Fauci to Sen. Rand Paul: "Here we go again with the theater. Let's get down to the facts." pic.twitter.com/z3zaCclao0— The Hill (@thehill) March 18, 2021
Paul interjected to claim that there are no studies to prove that people can be reinfected with the coronavirus.
However, Fauci argued that the existence of different strains of the virus is a good reason to continue to wear masks because there are instances where people have been reinfected but with a different strain.
Still, Paul went on to argue that there is “no evidence” to show that there is a “significant” chance of reinfection, hospitalization, or death after being infected or receiving the vaccine.
Finally, he suggested that telling people that they do not have to wear a mask would help counter what he called vaccine hesitancy, “You want people to get the vaccine, give them a reward instead of telling them the nanny-state’s going to be there for three more years and you gotta wear a mask forever.”
“Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater. Masks are protective,” Fauci shot back.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) and Dr. Fauci exchange words about vaccinated people and wearing masks.— The Recount (@therecount) March 18, 2021
Paul calls it "theater," says "people don't wanna hear it and there's no science behind it."
Fauci: "Let me just state for the record that masks are not theater." pic.twitter.com/ShG4eeiz7o
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky says that “there are some activities that fully vaccinated people can begin to resume now in the privacy of their own homes.”
However, she said, “Everyone — even those who are vaccinated — should continue with all mitigation strategies when in public settings.”
The CDC also says Americans who are fully vaccinated can gather with other fully vaccinated individuals and some who are not vaccinated, indoors without masks or social distancing.