Lindsey Graham Testing Positive for COVID Marks First Recorded Breakthrough Infection of a U.S. Senator

Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) announced on Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. Graham received the Pfizer vaccine last December and is said to be experiencing mild symptoms. “I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms,” he said in a tweet. Graham then credited the vaccine for his mild symptoms. “I will be quarantining for ten days.”

Lindsey Graham became the first vaccinated U.S. Senator to test positive in a breakthrough infection. “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 later added. The Senator received the Pfizer vaccine on December 19, just eight days after the two-dose vaccine was approved for emergency authorization by the FDA. 

Though Graham’s COVID-19 diagnosis is the first recorded breakthrough infection of a U.S. Senator, he is far from the first politician to test positive and experience mild symptoms. The two oldest members of the U.S. House of Representatives contracted COVID last November. Don Young (R-AK), tested positive for the virus on November 12, 2020. At 89-years-old, Young is the oldest sitting member of the house. “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. 

Chuck Grassley (R-IA) became the oldest Senator to test 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 at the time. Grassley, 87, never experienced symptoms and returned to work two weeks later. Since vaccines were not deployed until December, Grassley’s symptom-free COVID bout took place before he was vaccinated.

Graham has not provided any further updates on his condition as of today. The Senator was on a boat with a bipartisan contingent of multiple U.S. Senators over the weekend. The other senators were Joe Manchin (D-WV), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) Maria Cantwell (D-WA) and John Thune (R-SD). Most if not all of these senators are vaccinated. None have reported an infection as of Wednesday.

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