November 28, 2023

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute for Allergies and Infectious Diseases, testifies on the federal response to the coronavirus on Capitol Hill during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Susan Walsh | Pool | Getty Images

White House medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Thursday pushed Republican Senator Rand Paul’s claim that people are at risk for Covid-19 after recovering from infection or having been vaccinated.

In a fiery exchange during a Senate hearing examining the country’s efforts to respond to coronavirus, Paul told Fauci that Americans should not wear masks after vaccination due to the likelihood of getting Covid-19 is “practically 0%”.

“Isn’t it just theater?” The Kentucky Senator asked during a Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee hearing.

“You’ve been vaccinated and you hit around in two masks for the show. You can’t get it back,” Paul said. “There’s practically a 0% chance you’ll get it, and you tell people who had the vaccine have immunity – you defy everything we know about immunity by telling people they are wearing vaccinated masks should.”

In response, Fauci said: “Here we go again with the theater.”

“”All I can say is that masks are no theater, “said Fauci, and added:” I completely disagree with you. “

The emergence of new, highly contagious variants poses a threat to people who have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, he said.

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks during a Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on the federal response to the coronavirus March 18, 2021 in Washington, DC.

Susan Walsh | Pool | Getty Images

It has been shown that new Covid variants, particularly the B.1.351 strain first identified in South Africa, escape vaccine protection.

“In the South African study of [Johnson & Johnson]They found that people who were wild-type infected and exposed to variant 351 in South Africa felt like they had never been infected before, they had no protection, “Fauci said.

Fauci agreed that it was unlikely that anyone would become infected with the original strain for at least six months.

“But we in our country now have variants,” he added.

The exchange comes a little over a week after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidelines that allow those who are fully vaccinated to visit other vaccinated individuals safely indoors without a mask or social distance.

However, the CDC also recommended that vaccinated individuals should continue to wear masks in public settings, when meeting with unvaccinated individuals from more than one different household, and with individuals at increased risk of developing serious illnesses.

While growing body of evidence suggests that people vaccinated against Covid-19 are less likely to spread the disease to others, it is still not known how long a person’s protection could last or how effective the shots against newly occurring ones Covid-19 variants are CDC said in a statement March 8.

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