McCarthy had COVID-19 last year

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthyKevin McCarthyFormer acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report GOP's McCarthy has little incentive to work with Jan. 6 panel The fates of the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump MORE revealed Friday that he was infected with COVID-19 last year and only found out once a test revealed he had antibodies.

The California Republican said he was was tested when he had elbow surgery in December.

"The doctor called me and said I have the antibodies, and so I had to have had it. He probably — he thought within the last two months and this was in December," McCarthy told pool reporters.

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He added that he was getting tested frequently before he got the COVID-19 vaccine, so "it had to be in that short time probably right before the election or somewhere like that."

"I probably wouldn't have gotten the vaccine because they make you wait" if you've been previously infected, he added, according to CNN.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) note that people previously infected with the coronavirus have a period of immunity that lasts about three months.

McCarthy was one of the several top congressional leaders who got the vaccine as soon as it became available and encouraged the public to do so as well.

A substantial number of Republican lawmakers, however, are opting out of vaccination, ignoring the CDC's advice.

"I have not chosen to be vaccinated because I got it naturally and the science of 30 million people — and the statistical validity of a 30 million sample — is pretty overwhelming that natural immunity exists and works," said Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Former President TrumpDonald TrumpWendy Sherman takes leading role as Biden's 'hard-nosed' Russia negotiator Senate needs to confirm Deborah Lipstadt as antisemitism envoy — Now Former acting Defense secretary under Trump met with Jan. 6 committee: report MORE, who got COVID-19 in the fall and was vaccinated before leaving office in January, publicly encouraged his followers to get their shots this week — the first time he's openly advocated for the vaccine.