New York gubernatorial candidate Andrew Giuliani will not be allowed to participate in person in the Republican primary debate on Monday night due to his coronavirus vaccine status.
Giuliani, the son of former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, is unvaccinated but claims that his “natural immunity” to COVID-19 should make him eligible to participate in the debate in WCBS’s studios. His claims contradict widespread scientific consensus on the virus, as experts have found that people who are vaccinated are less likely to get reinfected with the virus, while the natural immunity levels produced through infection are more unreliable.
WCBS had made its vaccination rules clear prior to its decision to bar Giuliani from an in-person appearance at the debate. In a statement regarding its move, the station said that Giuliani is still allowed to take part in the event remotely, which he reportedly plans to do.
Giuliani has been adamant that his vaccination status shouldn’t preclude him from participating in the debate at the studio.
“I chose very clearly that I was not going to get the shot,” Giuliani said on Sunday, claiming that he “looked at the data” on vaccines.
In a letter to the station, Giuliani also asserted — wrongly — that Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data “shows that the vaccine does not prevent infection or transmission.”
“Therefore, your arbitrary policy does not satisfy public health and safety but instead serves to discriminate against a political candidate and their access to equal opportunity and religious liberty,” Giuliani claimed.
In fact, evidence from the CDC and other researchers shows that transmission rates are lower among populations with higher COVID-19 vaccination rates. While infection is still possible, vaccinated people who contract the virus are less likely to spread the virus than those who are unvaccinated. People who are vaccinated are also less likely to experience difficult symptoms, require hospitalization or die from the virus, studies have consistently shown.
Giuliani is currently leading the pack of Republicans in the primary race to challenge current Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul in this November’s general election. According to a Zogby Strategies Interactive poll conducted last month, Giuliani placed first among all other GOP candidates in the primary, with the support of 28.1 percent of Republican voters. In second place was Rep. Lee Zeldin, who garnered the support of 22.8 percent of Republican voters. A quarter of Republican respondents (25.1 percent) said they were not yet sure who they would vote for.
Because Hochul has a 58 percent approval rating in New York, it’s likely that she’ll win the election no matter who Republicans pick as their candidate. According to the same poll, Hochul is nearly 20 points ahead of Giuliani, defeating him in a hypothetical matchup with 54.4 percent of voters’ support, while only 35.1 percent of voters said they’d vote for the GOP frontrunner instead.