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Sen. Rand Paul (R-K.Y.) said Sunday he will not get vaccinated against COVID as he already had the disease and therefore has acquired natural immunity.

During an interview with John Catsimatidis on his radio show WABC 770 AM, Paul, a physician, said he was making the personal decision because he already had COVID, acquired natural immunity and there is no evidence to support vaccinating people who’ve already had the disease.

Paul told Catsimatidis:

“Frankly, all of the studies show that I have just as good of immunity as the people who’ve been vaccinated. Now in a year’s time, if people say ‘Oh people that had it naturally are getting infected a lot more than people who’ve been vaccinated,’ I might change my mind. But until they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers or being hospitalized or are getting very sick, I’ve just made my own personal decision that I’m not getting vaccinated because I’ve already had the disease and have natural immunity now.”

Paul has been critical of COVID restrictions and mask mandates, often challenging Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, during Senate panel hearings on the COVID response.

Paul said getting vaccinated should be a personal choice and no one should be forced to get vaccinated.

“In a free country, you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision, that it wouldn’t be a big brother coming to tell me what I have to do,” Paul said.

“Are they also going to tell me I can’t have a cheeseburger for lunch? Are they going to tell me that I have to eat carrots only and cut my calories?” Paul added. “All that would probably be good for me, but I don’t think big brother ought to tell me to do it.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages people who have had COVID to get vaccinated because “experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering.”

As The Defender reported, since the first COVID vaccine received Emergency Use Authorization in the U.S. some physicians and scientists have challenged the CDC’s recommendation, citing the lack of science to support vaccinating those who’ve acquired natural immunity.

Some scientists suggest vaccinating those who’ve already had the disease or were recently infected poses potential risks, including death.Dr. Hooman Noorchashm, accomplished surgeon, patient safety advocate and staunch supporter of the new COVID vaccines, has written several letters to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) urging the agency to require pre-screening for SARS-CoV-2 viral proteins in order to reduce COVID vaccine injuries and deaths.

According to Noorchasm, it is scientifically established that once a person is naturally infected by a virus, antigens from that virus persist in the body for a long time after viral replication has stopped and clinical signs of infection have resolved. When a vaccine reactivates an immune response in a recently infected person, the tissues harboring the persisting viral antigen are targeted, inflamed and damaged by the immune response.

“In the case of SARS-CoV-2, we know that the virus naturally infects the heart, the inner lining of blood vessels, the lungs and the brain,” explained Noorchasm. “So, these are likely to be some of the critical organs that will contain persistent viral antigens in the recently infected — and, following reactivation of the immune system by a vaccine, these tissues can be expected to be targeted and damaged.”

Noorchasm is not alone. Colleen Kelley, an associate professor of infectious diseases at Emory University School of Medicine and principal investigator for Moderna and Novavax phase 3 vaccine clinical trials in Atlanta, said, in an interview with Huffington Post, there have been reported cases in which those who previously had the virus endured harsher side effects after they received their vaccines.

“Anecdotally, it does appear that people who may have had COVID-19 before their vaccine do tend to have those longer duration of symptoms,” Kelley said. “But we’re still gathering additional scientific data to really support this.”

In a public submission to the FDA, J. Patrick Whelan M.D. Ph.D., expressed similar concern that COVID vaccines aimed at creating immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein could have the potential to cause microvascular injury to the brain, heart, liver and kidneys in a way that does not currently appear to be assessed in safety trials of these potential drugs.