Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) urged Americans to get vaccinated for COVID-19 in a statement from the Senate floor today. Graham had just recently returned from a COVID-related absence after testing positive for the virus earlier in the month.
“If you haven’t been vaccinated regarding the COVID problem, you need to get vaccinated,” said Graham. “I’ve been vaccinated and I got COVID anyway,” he then added. The senator said he had a “couple of really bad days” but that he is feeling better. It was generally reported that Graham experienced relatively mild symptoms, which he attributed to the vaccine.
“I’m confident that if I hadn’t had the vaccine it would have been a-lot worse,” Graham said. Senator Graham became the first U.S. Senator to test positive for the virus after having been vaccinated. Graham received the Pfizer vaccine on December 19, shortly after rollout.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM: "If you haven't been vaccinated regarding the COVID problem, you need to get vaccinated. I've been vaccinated and I got COVID anyway." pic.twitter.com/K7fLoY2JPN
— Breaking911 (@Breaking911) August 10, 2021
Though Graham’s COVID diagnosis marked the first breakthrough case of a U.S. Senator, several other politicians have had the virus since the pandemic began. Many of these positive cases were recorded before vaccines were available. This includes the oldest members of both the house Rep. Don Young (R-AK) and the senate in Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA).
Rep. Young, who is 89-years-old, tested positive for the virus on November 12, 2020. “I am feeling strong, following proper protocols, working from home in Alaska, and ask for privacy at this time,” he wrote in a tweet at the time. Senator Grassley, who is 87-years-old, tested positive for the virus on November 17. “While I still feel fine, the test came back positive for the coronavirus. I am continuing to follow my doctors’ orders and CDC guidelines. I’ll be keeping up on my work for the people of Iowa from home,” he said in a statement shortly after the diagnosis. Grassley, 87, never experienced symptoms and returned to work two weeks later. Vaccines were not approved for emergency use until December 11, 2020, meaning that both Young and Grassley were unvaccinated during their bouts with COVID.
Graham is still adamant about the vaccine’s effectiveness, however. “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse,” he wrote in a tweet shortly after contracting the virus.