Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky on Tuesday urged fully vaccinated people to ignore new public health directives and to “live free” from virus mitigation measures.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines for vaccinated people on Monday. Those guidelines curiously advise people who are immune to the coronavirus to continue wearing masks in some situations.
Paul, who is a doctor with a practice in Bowling Green, Kentucky, shared a CNN article about the CDC guidelines on Twitter.
“Rather than listening to government scolds, look to the science of immunology: and once you’re 2 weeks out from the vaccine, or have recovered from the actual infection, trash your mask and live free again,” tweeted Paul.
Paul was one of the first lawmakers to contract the coronavirus last year when he tested positive in March. After a quick recovery, he volunteered at a Kentucky hospital and has made headlines since on several occasions for refusing to wear a mask.
“I have immunity. I’ve already had the virus, so I can’t get it again and I can’t give it to anybody,” Paul told reporters in Washington last May, NBC News reported. “I can’t get it again, nor can I transmit. So of all the people you’ll meet here, I’m about the only safe person in Washington.”
Paul a week later challenged Dr. Anthony Fauci at a Senate committee hearing on re-opening the economy in which he appeared without a mask.
“I think we ought to have a little bit of humility in our belief that we know what’s best for the economy. And as much as I respect you, Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all. I don’t think you’re the one person that gets to make a decision,” Paul said.
Paul has since been critical of public health mandates over their potential to erode individual liberties. He has found himself targeted numerous times since he recovered over not wearing a mask in public.
Despite conventional wisdom surrounding vaccines and illnesses, the CDC is not advising people who are fully vaccinated to return to their normal lives.
In directives released this week, which Paul was referring to, the agency advised vaccinated people to wear a mask and social distance when around unvaccinated people who are considered at risk. Those who are fully vaccinated are also asked to refrain from traveling and to wear masks when shopping or engaging in other activities while in congregant settings.
“Until more is known and vaccination coverage increases, some prevention measures will continue to be necessary for all people, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC stated. “However, the benefits of reducing social isolation and relaxing some measures such as quarantine requirements may outweigh the residual risk of fully vaccinated people becoming ill with COVID-19 or transmitting SARS-CoV-2 to others.”
The agency does state that small groups of fully vaccinated people can gather without masks.
People are considered to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their second dose.