Sen. Rand Paul, one of the few medical doctors in Congress, says there is "no clear thinking" in the government's current strategy for fighting COVID-19 as he urges regulators to develop a revised vaccine to better ward off new variants like Delta.
"Why don't we actually tell the FDA to speed up the approval of a Delta variant vaccine? See the one they're wanting you to take now is a booster that apparently doesn't work as well. It's got about a 30 to 40%" breakthrough rate on Delta, the Kentucky Republican told Just the News in an interview on the John Solomon Reports podcast.
"I'm not saying don't take it, I am for it. But I am saying that if [the virus] is escaping 30% or 40%, rather than just give a booster of the same thing why don't we have quick FDA approval," he said, speaking of a revised vaccine. "Make sure it's voluntary, because it will be a brand new vaccine, and it won't have several months of testing. But for the vulnerable people say, 'Look, this is now targeted towards the Delta variant, it uses the same technology. And we think it'll go back to maybe a 90 or 95% chance of working.'"
Recent data compiled by the New York Times from six states with large vaccinated populations shows so-called breakthrough infections accounted for 18-28% of recorded cases and 12-24% of hospitalizations. Officials stressed, however, those who are vaccinated are far less likely to die or get severe cases. Moderna and Pfizer both have issued statements in recent weeks saying the effectiveness of their vaccines wanes several months after administering.
Paul said the government could vastly improve on those numbers by beginning now to develop COVID boosters for new variants like Delta and Mu, just like drugmakers do each year for influenza vaccines.
"None of this makes sense," he said of the current federal strategy. "But there's nobody with any clear thinking in our government."
Paul, an ophthalmologist, has repeatedly tangled with Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's infectious disease chief, most recently over whether COVID-19 emanated from a Chinese lab. Paul's concerns over NIH-funded "gain of function" research and a possible lab accident — once dismissed in the media — have now been backed by the release of recent government documents and intelligence assessments.
Paul said another example of the government's bad decision-making involves one of the few treatments shown to provide early help to COVID-infected patients: monoclonal antibodies.
"The IV monoclonal antibodies are very effective at reducing your hospitalization," Paul said. "But you have to know to ask your doctor for it. And here's the rub. Because Fauci and the government doctors have been dictating how you take this, if you get admitted to the hospital, they will not give you the IV monoclonal antibodies."
“So if you are in the ER, if you are listening to this broadcast, and your family member goes to the ER, they say you're going to need to be admitted before you were admitted, you need to ask them, ‘can I get the monoclonal antibodies in the ER.’ Because if you don't get them, the one thing that is really pretty darn good at saving your life, you're going to be excluded from because Dr. Fauci has set an absolute rule.”
Paul’s claim is confirmed by the NIH’s Web site, which said the antibody treatments are “to treat non-hospitalized patients with mild to moderate COVID-19.”
“Anti-SARS-CoV-2 monoclonal antibodies are not currently authorized for use in patients who are hospitalized with severe COVID-19,” the agency guidance to doctors state.
Paul extended the theme of poor government thinking to the recent Afghan evacuations, singling out President Biden and military leaders like Gen. Milley for surrendering the U.S. airbase in Bagram weeks before completing evacuations of Americans and then leaving behind billions of dollars of valuable military equipment.
“What general would say, ‘well, let's leave the main thing that is our main source of power, our air power, let's leave the Air Force Base before we're done exiting all the Americans from the country?’ So that is an inexcusable military error,” he said. “And for that alone, you know, Milley ought to go. And so should, really, several others.
And once they took the Air Force Base, once the Taliban had it, and then taken it against our wishes, we should have given them about three minutes to exit the vehicles. And then we should have blown all of our vehicles and the airport to smithereens,” he added.