Scalise cites delta variant for decision to be vaccinated on Sunday

House Minority Whip Steve ScaliseStephen (Steve) Joseph ScaliseRepublican who went maskless now says coronavirus 'wants to kill us' Republican governors revolt against CDC mask guidance House to resume mask mandate after new CDC guidance MORE (R-La.) cited the delta variant for his decision to get vaccinated on Sunday.

Scalise got his first shot of the Pfizer vaccine at an Ochsner clinic in Louisiana and encouraged others to go get vaccinated.

“Especially with the delta variant becoming a lot more aggressive and seeing another spike, it was a good time to do it,” Scalise said in an interview, Nola.com reported.

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“When you talk to people who run hospitals, in New Orleans or other states, 90 percent of people in hospital with delta variant have not been vaccinated. That’s another signal the vaccine works,” he added.

The delta variant has been sweeping across the United States and causing a rise in cases in countries around the world. The vaccines approved in the U.S. have proven to be effective against the variant.

Scalise delayed getting a vaccine because he believed he still had natural immunity after testing positive for coronavirus antibodies. It is still unclear how long natural immunity lasts after one is infected.

The pace of vaccinations in the United States has slowed, and polls show a clear partisan dividing line, with conservatives and Republicans less likely and more hesitant about getting a vaccine.

“It’s safe and effective,” Scalise said. “It was heavily tested on thousands of people before the [Food and Drug Administration] FDA gave its approval. Some people believe that it might have been rushed. That’s not the case. I’ve been vocal about that for months. I know their process has high standards. The FDA approval process is probably the most respected in the world.”