GOP Lawmaker Adam Kinzinger Mocks Rand Paul for Refusing Vaccine: 'So Brave… So Manly'

Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Sunday mocked Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky for refusing to get the coronavirus vaccine.

In a Sunday morning radio interview, Paul, an ophthalmologist, told billionaire John Catsimatidis that he won't be receiving the vaccine because he recovered from the virus after testing positive last March.

"Until 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 on Catsimatidis' WABC 770 AM radio program.

Kinzinger, a frequent critic of Republicans aligned with former President Donald Trump, quickly took to Twitter to mock Paul's refusal to get vaccinated.

"So brave...Such a leader... so manly..." he wrote.

So brave...Such a leader... so manly...

Rand Paul: 'I'm not getting vaccinated'

— Adam Kinzinger (@AdamKinzinger) May 23, 2021

Newsweek reached out to Senator Rand Paul's office for comment. This story will be updated with any response.

Speaking to Catsimatidis, Paul defended his vaccine decision, saying "in a free country you would think people would honor the idea that each individual would get to make the medical decision." He also compared federal vaccine guidance to "big brother coming to tell me what I have to do."

He added: "Are they also going to tell me I can't have a cheeseburger for lunch? Are they going to tell me that I have to eat carrots only and cut my calories?"

According to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people who had COVID-19 and recovered still need to get vaccinated.

"That's because experts do not yet know how long you are protected from getting sick again after recovering from COVID-19," the agency says. "Even if you have already recovered from COVID-19, it is possible—although rare—that you could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 again."

In a drastic reversal of earlier guidelines, the CDC revised its guidelines on masks earlier this month. According to the agency, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can stop wearing masks and social distancing, both indoors and outdoors.

Republicans across the country have accused the agency of pushing "vaccine passports" with the new mask guidelines.

Newsweek, in partnership with NewsGuard, is dedicated to providing accurate and verifiable vaccine and health information. With NewsGuard's HealthGuard browser extension, users can verify if a website is a trustworthy source of health information. Visit the Newsweek VaxFacts website to learn more and to download the HealthGuard browser extension.

Adam Kinzinger Mocks Rand Paul Over Vaccine
Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger mocked Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images