September 20, 2021

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Lindsey Graham tests positive for Covid-19 after being vaccinated – POLITICO

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“I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now,” he said in the tweet. “My symptoms would be far worse.”

A spokesperson for Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who was with Graham over the weekend, said Manchin was “fully vaccinated and following the CDC guidelines for those exposed to a COVID positive individual.“

Graham is the ranking member of the Budget Committee and would typically manage the upcoming back and forth on the resolution setting up a $3.5 trillion spending bill. Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) will take Graham’s place, said Budget Committee member Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa).

Graham’s pro-vaccine messaging follows a surge in Delta variant cases in the U.S., with some areas reinstating their mask mandates to curb the spread. Though vaccinated individuals can get breakthrough infections and spread the virus, their odds of having severe symptoms are significantly lower than they are for unvaccinated individuals. CDC data shows that fewer than .001 percent of fully vaccinated people have died from a breakthrough Covid-19 case.

Many Republican lawmakers have ramped up their efforts to get Americans vaccinated in recent weeks as Republicans remain less likely to get the Covid-19 shots. Also in the Senate, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is running pro-vaccine ads and reflecting on his experience with polio as a child.

Asked about Graham‘s positive test, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said at a Monday briefing that the administration wished him a speedy recovery and hoped he would continue to have only mild symptoms. “We wish him the best of health through that,” she said.

On whether there’s a need for more information on breakthrough cases, Psaki said that “every single piece of available evidence says breakthrough infections are rare and mild,” reiterating the vaccine’s effectiveness at preventing severe infections.

Graham is not the first lawmaker to have tested positive with a Covid-19 breakthrough case. Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-Fla.) reported that he tested positive despite being fully vaccinated, and the Capitol attending physician reinstated a mask mandate in the House last week amid concerns about the Delta variant spreading.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.

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