Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said Sunday that he is not getting vaccinated because he has already had Covid-19.
Speaking with a conservative host on WABC radio in New York, Paul, an ophthalmologist, said he won't change his mind unless "they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers or being hospitalized or getting very sick."
"I just made my own personal decision that I'm not getting vaccinated, because I've already had the disease, and I have natural immunity," Paul said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that people who have been infected still get vaccinated because experts are not certain how long natural immunity lasts.
Paul was the first senator known to have contracted the coronavirus when he tested positive in March 2020.
Vaccination demand has fallen, with about 60 percent of adults in the U.S. having received at least one dose so far.
Republicans, including former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, have promoted getting vaccinated, as both have been.
Yet Republicans remain perhaps the most a vaccination-resistant demographic. A recent PBS/NPR/Marist poll found that more than 4 in 10 Republicans say they have no plans to get vaccinated.
Paul has said for months that his natural immunity means getting vaccinated is unnecessary, even though scientists say the evidence about long-lasting natural immunity is murky.
Paul, a steadfast opponent of Covid-19 mitigation measures and mask mandates, has repeatedly clashed at Senate hearings with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, arguing over topics from herd immunity to the origins of the virus.