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Dr. Anthony Fauci was questioned by Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., during a Senate committee hearing Thursday, June 16, 2022.
Fauci and Sen. Rand Paul had yet another contentious exchange at a Senate hearing.

Dr. Anthony Fauci admitted Thursday that even though the Biden administration recommends that everyone over the age of 5 gets a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, there is currently insufficient evidence to prove that the boosters actually lower rates of hospitalization or death in children.

During a Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee hearing, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked Fauci if he was aware of any studies that showed a reduction in deaths or hospitalizations for children who had received boosters.

"Right now, there's not enough data that has been accumulated, Senator Paul, to indicate that that's the case," Fauci stated. The director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases began to explain that he thinks the basis for the recommendation had to do with looking at morbidity and mortality of children in different age groups, when the senator cut him off.

"So there are no studies. And Americans should all know this. There are no studies on children showing a reduction in hospitalization or death with taking a booster," Paul said.

Paul, who is also a doctor, noted that the only studies that had been done were antibody studies, which he argued were not enough to prove a vaccine's efficacy. He claimed that just because a vaccine produces antibodies, that does not mean it is necessary. To illustrate his point, he argued that a person could get 10 boosters and get antibodies from all of them, but that does not mean a person needs to get 10 booster shots.

Fauci, who testified virtually because he currently has COVID-19, called Paul's hypothetical "somewhat of an absurd exaggeration," but Paul claimed that this is basically what the government is doing.

"That's not science. That's conjecture. And we should not be making public policy on it," he said.

Paul recognized that "there is probably some indication" that boosters are beneficial for older people who have health risks if they get COVID-19, but that this is not the case for younger people. To the contrary, he said the vaccine could be risky for younger people. Paul pointed recent reports of an increased risk of myocarditis in males age 12 to 24 who get a second dose of a vaccine.

The Republican senator also accused the government of withholding data about pediatric COVID-19 cases. Paul was particularly interested in the number of children who had previously been infected with COVID-19 who later died or were hospitalized from it.

"The answer may be zero, but you're not even giving us the data," Paul said.

Fauci did not answer the question, but stated that the "optimal degree of protection" after infection is to then get vaccinated, referring to reinfection possibilities from the omicron variant.