FACT CHECK: Does This Image Show Rand Paul Getting His COVID-19 Vaccine?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook purportedly shows Republican Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul receiving a COVID-19 vaccine.

Verdict: False

The picture shows Paul receiving a hepatitis A booster shot. In May, the senator said he did not have plans at the time to get a COVID-19 vaccine because he’d previously contracted the virus.

Fact Check:

In a video posted to his verified Twitter account Aug. 8, Paul criticized various COVID-19 mitigation measures, mask mandates and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He also promised in the video that if a public school system isn’t offering full-time, in-person learning, he would file an amendment to defund it, according to Kentucky news station WKYT.

Now, social media users are sharing a photo of Paul receiving an injection, along with claims that it shows him getting a COVID-19 vaccine. In some instances, Facebook users pointed to the photo in an attempt to seemingly suggest he is being hypocritical.

A reverse image search traced the image back to a February 2015 article published by The New York Times titled “Rand Paul Gets a Booster Vaccination.” Paul invited a New York Times reporter to accompany him as he received the hepatitis A booster shot in 2015 after he made comments that, according to The New York Times, seemed to raise questions about his stance on childhood vaccine safety.

The photo, taken by reporter Jeremy W. Peters in 2015, shows the senator as he “received a booster vaccination for Hepatitis A on Tuesday in the Capitol physician’s office,” the caption states. Paul told The New York Times at the time, “It just annoys me that I’m being characterized as someone who’s against vaccines.”

The Kentucky senator contracted COVID-19 in March 2020, according to the Louisville Courier Journal. In May of this year, he said he did not have plans to get a COVID-19 vaccination because he had natural immunity but might change his mind if “they show me evidence that people who have already had the infection are dying in large numbers or being hospitalized or getting very sick,” NBC News reported.

The CDC states on its website that “you should get a COVID-19 vaccine regardless of whether you already had COVID-19” because “experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19.” A recent CDC study of Kentuckians who had previously contracted COVID-19 found that “unvaccinated individuals are more than twice as likely to be reinfected with COVID-19 than those who were fully vaccinated after initially contracting the virus.”

Data from that study indicates COVID-19 vaccines “offer better protection than natural immunity alone and that vaccines, even after prior infection, help prevent reinfections,” according to the CDC. (RELATED: No, The COVID-19 Delta Variant Is Not Fake)

Check Your Fact reached out to Paul’s office for comment and will update this article if a response is provided.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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