Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., accused government health officials of taking a wrong approach in evaluating COVID-19 vaccines by failing to take into account people’s previous infections.
The Kentucky Republican then implied that there could be a reason for this. Stating that government vaccine committee members have not disclosed what, if any, royalties they have received from companies that make the vaccines, Paul said that if the GOP takes control of the Senate in November’s midterm elections they will investigate the matter.
“We’ve been asking you and you refused to answer whether anybody on the vaccine committees gets royalties from the pharmaceutical companies,” Paul said to Dr. Anthony Fauci during a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing Wednesday. “I asked you last time, and what was your response? We don’t have to tell you. We’ve demanded them through the Freedom of Information Act. And what have you said? We’re not going to tell you. But I tell you this, when we get in charge, we’re going to change the rules and you will have to divulge where you get your royalties from, from what companies, and if anybody in the committee has a conflict of interest, we’re going to learn about it. I promise you that.”
Fauci responded by saying that those committees are advisory committees with the CDC and FDA, yet Paul keeps asking about him.
Paul responded by saying that Fauci himself has refused to say which companies, if any, gave him royalties, or paid royalties to other scientists.
“They are not my committees,” Fauci reiterated, without addressing Paul’s claim that Fauci himself has not been transparent.
The discussion of royalties from pharmaceutical companies stemmed from Paul’s claim that Fauci and other officials were not following established science because they were ignoring the effects of COVID-19 infections when looking at vaccines. He began his segment by showing an interview Fauci gave in 2004, in which he said regarding the flu that “the best vaccination is to get infected yourself.”
Paul asked Fauci why that same idea does not appear to be reflected in the government’s approach to COVID-19.
“Currently, antibody surveys show that 80 percent of children, approximately 80 percent of children, have had COVID, and yet there are no guidelines coming from you or anybody in the government to take into account their naturally acquired immunity,” the senator said, adding that death rates from COVID-19 are similar “if not less than that” of the flu.
“So when we look at this, we wonder, you know, why you seemed to really embrace basic immunology back in 2004, how you or why you seem to reject it now,” Paul said.
Fauci denied rejecting basic immunology and said he “never denied that there is the importance of the protection following infection.” Still, he said the FDA and CDC support the idea that “vaccination following infection gives an added extra boost.”
The problem, Paul said, is that “almost none of your studies from the CDC or from the government have the variable of whether or not you’ve been previously infected.”
“If you ignore whether they’ve been infected, you’re ignoring a vaccine, basically,” he added.