Sen. Rand Paul doubles down on plans to not get vaccinated

Lexington doctors discuss Sen. Rand Paul’s claims that he doesn’t need vaccine since he had COVID
Updated: May. 24, 2021 at 8:05 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Senator Rand Paul says he will not get the coronavirus vaccine. He says he has natural immunity. That comes as health leaders are urging everyone to get vaccinated.

The infectious disease experts at Baptist Health say even if someone had COVID, they believe that protection will fade over time, and also may not protect them against all of the variants.

During a radio appearance over the weekend, Senator Paul once again said he had no intention of getting a COVID vaccine because he had already had the disease.

That’s similar to what he told Bill Bryant earlier this month when he was on Kentucky Newsmakers.

“All of the investigations so far show that if you’ve had it, like myself, you do have immunity to the disease, as well as the variants,” Sen. Paul said.

He announced he had tested positive for COVID in March of last year.

Dr. Mark Dougherty, the head of the infectious disease group at Baptist Health Lexington, said he wouldn’t comment on specific cases, but they believe the immunity from having COVID lasts at least three months, but it could be as high as 6-8.

“You do have some partial protection, but that’s not going to be solid. We know with the viral variants that escape natural immunity that you could become sick again,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Dr. Dougherty said that natural immunity appears to stop the UK variant of the virus, but not the strains from Brazil and South Africa.

“So if you had COVID before and get exposed to one of those variants, which we expect to be increasing over time, we think that you will be able to get reinfected by those more contagious and more virulent variants,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Right now they have about 20 COVID inpatients at Baptist. But Dougherty said that number should be zero.

“All of those could be prevented by the vaccine. That’s what’s really from my standpoint, the shame about the whole thing. All of this could be preventable,” Dr. Dougherty said.

Dr. Dougherty said another thing he wanted to stress is that people who do get COVID, to be very proactive when it comes to monitoring their health. He said they should start monitoring their oxygen, and also look in the monoclonal antibodies soon as they can. He said the earlier you take steps to treat the disease, the better outcomes they’re seeing.

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