Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., scolded a reporter who asked if he was vaccinated during a press conference earlier this week.
“Well, first of all, it’s none of your business, but I’m going to tell you,” Massie said when a reporter pointed out that he didn’t answer a question about his vaccination status. “I’m not vaccinated, and until there’s … some data that shows that it will improve upon the immunity that’s been conferred to me as a result of a natural infection that I had.”
The reporter confronted Massie after he spoke during a press conference about the 2021 Fire Fauci Act, which reduces the salary of Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and calls for an examination of his correspondences and expenditures.
Massie, who pointed out that he received his master’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, tested positive for coronavirus in January of 2020 and announced on Glenn Beck’s radio show in August of 2020 that he had tested positive for antibodies, prompting him to donate plasma, the Courier-Journal reported at the time.
The congressman is co-sponsoring the Fire Fauci Act — first introduced by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga. — along with 10 other Republican members of Congress.
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“One of the biggest scandals during this whole pandemic is the coverup that’s been committed by Dr. Fauci and the [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] — especially the CDC — about the effectiveness of immunity that’s conferred after a natural infection, after you’ve recovered from [COVID], they’ve completely ignored that,” Massie said during the conference.
The Kentucky Republican clarified that he is not advocating people get the virus instead of the vaccine.
“The vaccine can save lives, it’s certain,” he said. “But there’s no need…to get the vaccine if you’ve already recovered from COVID.”
President Biden has set a target of getting 70% of the U.S. population inoculated with at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot by July 4. That goal may be reachable with at least 65% of the population with at least one shot as of Saturday, the CDC’s vaccination tracker shows.
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The CDC’s website states that “getting COVID-19 may offer some natural protection, known as immunity.”
“Current evidence suggests that reinfection with the virus that causes COVID-19 is uncommon in the 90 days after initial infection. However, experts don’t know for sure how long this protection lasts, and the risk of severe illness and death from COVID-19 far outweighs any benefits of natural immunity,” the website states.
New research suggests, however, that natural immunity may be enough to keep the virus at bay for up to nearly a year.
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Meanwhile, with the majority of Americans vaccinated against the virus, cases have dropped significantly over the past several months, with the weekly average number of infections being less than 12,000, according to CDC data.
Fauci has recently come under criticism from Republicans after thousands of emails obtained by Buzzfeed News and hundreds more reviewed by The Washington Post were released last month shifting lawmakers focus towards COVID-19’s origins and highlighting the credibility of a theory that it may have stemmed from a virology lab in Wuhan, China.