Vivek Ramaswamy, surgeon wife differ over COVID-19 vaccine

Biotech entrepreneur Vivek Ramaswamy and his wife, Apoorva Ramaswamy, an assistant professor and surgeon, disagree about taking the COVID-19 vaccine — a topic that has become a focal point in the 2024 GOP primary race.

Apoorva Ramaswamy acknowledged in an interview Sunday with NBC News that she and her husband differ on the matter, saying they take different considerations into account.

“For my young, healthy husband, that’s a different decision than for me when I am taking care of patients who are cancer survivors, and they trust me to be in their airway every day,” Apoorva Ramaswamy told the news outlet. “It’s a very different discussion. And I think giving people that autonomy is the most important part.”

“The most important thing for me as a surgeon, when I think about recommending things to my patients is their autonomy,” Apoorva Ramaswamy, who is a laryngologist, said during the interview. “This is what we know about this … this is what I think are the benefits. And these are what we know are the risks, and this is what we don’t know.”

She said that given her job, “at the time, I think I had to do what I had to do” in taking the vaccine.

Her comments mark a distinction with her husband, who said during an interview on the “All-In” podcast with David Sacks last month that while he received the COVID-19 vaccines, in hindsight he would not have done so.

“So I am vaccinated against COVID. Had I had the facts that I do now, as a young thankfully healthy male, I would not have actually chosen to get vaccinated,” Vivek Ramaswamy said. “I think that Anthony Fauci betrays science by substituting the scientific method which depends on free speech and open debate and inquiry with authority, which is actually fundamentally anti-scientific at its core.”

“And I think one of our main lessons to have learned from the pandemic, and I hope we do learn it in the future, is that it is precisely in times of emergency that free speech becomes most important,” the 38-year-old GOP candidate continued.

Apoorva Ramaswamy acknowledged that she and husband “disagree on things sometimes” but said that they are “on the same page” about “the important things.”

The COVID-19 pandemic — including the vaccine, related restrictions and those who sought to manage it — have become a focal point in the 2024 GOP primary. Many Republican presidential candidates have lashed out against former White House chief medical adviser Anthony Fauci, who helped steer the nation through the pandemic. 

Republicans have railed against him for supporting restrictions and mask mandates — policies they argue have violated their First Amendment rights. Fauci and medical professionals have argued restrictions were needed to keep the nation from suffering even more deaths.

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