The government is still in the process of rolling out COVID-19 vaccines to millions of Americans. However, those who have already received the vaccination shouldn’t take it as a sign to leave their masks at home.

On Thursday, White House Chief Medical Advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci got into a heated discussion with Republican Senator Rand Paul while analyzing the nation’s coronavirus response efforts, CNBC reports.

During the conversation, Fauci emphasized the importance of wearing masks once receiving the COVID-19 vaccine after Paul suggested someone who received the vaccine would have full immunity from the virus.

“You’ve been vaccinated, and you parade around in two masks for show. You can’t get it again,” said Paul, who is an ophthalmologist. 

“There’s virtually 0% chance you’re going to get it, and you’re telling people that have had the vaccine who have immunity — you’re defying everything we know about immunity by telling people to wear masks who have been vaccinated.”

However, Fauci fired back voicing his frustrations over the disinformation. “Here we go again with the theater,” Fauci said.

“Let me just state for the record that masks are not theatre. Masks are protective,” he added. 

However, Paul interrupted Fauci to continue making his point. “Mass immunity, they are theatre. If you already have immunity you are wearing a mask to give comfort to others. You’re not wearing a mask because of any science.” 

Fauci replied, “I totally disagree with you.”

Due to the different variants of the virus, such as the B.1.351 strain, Fauci revealed the vaccine doesn’t necessarily offer full immunity. A South African study found that those who received the vaccine were not protected from the strain and experienced full-blown symptoms of the virus.

There's also a lack of data about if those vaccinated can still spread COVID-19. "Early data show that the vaccines may help keep people from spreading COVID-19, but we are learning more as more people get vaccinated," the CDC notes.

Top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci says US authorities are considering cutting social distancing rules to three feet (one metre), from the widely accepted six-foot global guideline Top pandemic advisor Anthony Fauci says US authorities are considering cutting social distancing rules to three feet (one metre), from the widely accepted six-foot global guideline Photo: AFP / SAUL LOEB