Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) said he's glad Dr. Anthony Fauci has "chosen to accept vaccine science" after Fauci, President Joe Biden's top health adviser, admitted Tuesday that Americans vaccinated against COIVID-19 do not need to wear masks.
Previously, Paul and Fauci clashed over mask-wearing for vaccinated individuals, with Fauci insisting that even people who were immunized against COVID-19 needed to continue wearing masks, while Paul argued mask-wearing was just "theater" if a person had been vaccinated or has recovered from infection.
After the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its mask guidance last week, Fauci changed his tune, telling ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he's now comfortable being seen in public without a mask. "Before the CDC made the recommendation change, I didn't want to look like I was giving mixed signals," Fauci said.
"I'm just glad that Dr. Fauci has now chosen to accept vaccine science — basic vaccine science says you can't get it after you've been vaccinated; that's why we get vaccinated," Paul told NewsmaxTV host Sean Spicer Wednesday after being shown a clip of Fauci's flip-flop.
He added that "basic vaccine science" shows that individuals who are vaccinated against a disease can neither become infected nor transmit the disease because they are immune to it.
"And yet [Fauci] was unwilling to accept it, and he was performing theater, wearing masks because he didn't want people to see him without a mask," Paul continued. "It wasn't that masks worked or that he needed it. You heard the way he phrased it. He didn't want someone to see him without the mask. So, really, it was theater."
The senator from Kentucky also criticized health experts and people in media who say they will continue to wear masks even though they've been vaccinated for making others hesitant to get vaccinated.
"If we send them a signal that they're just making up this science and they're treating us like imbeciles, and they're doing things for show, it actually discourages some of the people who are hesitant to get vaccinated," Paul said.
Paul doesn't think vaccinations should be mandatory, but he said those at high risk of suffering complications from contracting COVID-19, those who are over 40 years old and overweight, should strongly consider getting the vaccine.
"I wouldn't be out there telling 12-year-olds we're not going to let you go to summer camp or we're not going to let you go to school or get on a plane unless you're vaccinated," Paul said.
"We need to really not treat this as a one size fits all. This really should be individualized, and that's the way health care should be in a free society."