Despite Republican party leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) being vaccinated against COVID-19 in December and encouraging Americans to get vaccinated as well, some GOP lawmakers are undermining the federal vaccination effort by showing distrust of the highly-effective vaccines.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who had COVID-19 previously, broke from CDC guidelines. “I have not chosen to be vaccinated because I got it naturally and the science of 30 million people — and the statistical validity of a 30 million sample — is pretty overwhelming that natural immunity exists and works,” at a Senate hearing Tuesday. The CDC recommends that even if Americans have already contracted COVID-19 there is not conclusive evidence as to how long the body maintains natural immunity. So it is recommending that all Americans who can should get vaccinated.

Sen. Rick Scott (R-Florida) voiced further skepticism in the same hearing. “I’m still looking at it, I’m listening to my doctor,” he said, even though the overwhelming medical consensus on COVID-19 vaccines is that they are all fully safe and effective.

Paving the way for skeptics, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) praised vaccines, but also validated the views of those weary of the vaccine. “I’m very glad we have a vaccine,” he said. “I’m certainly encouraging people to get vaccinated, but I also think it’s a choice for individual Americans to make.”

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