Graham says his COVID-19 recovery would've been 'a lot worse' without vaccine

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) described his experience recovering from his COVID-19 infection while giving remarks on the Senate floor on Tuesday, saying that it could have "been a lot worse" if he had not already been vaccinated.

"I've been vaccinated, and I got COVID anyway. A couple of really bad days but I'm doing better and I feel on the mend and I'm confident if I hadn't had the vaccine, it'd have been a lot worse," Graham, 66, told his colleagues.

The senator also thanked his fellow lawmakers for sending him kind messages while he was ill.

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"To all my colleagues, I appreciate the good wishes and the phone calls and the food. I made it. I think the worst is behind me," Graham said before urging others to get vaccinated against the coronavirus. "I want to reinforce a simple message: If you haven't been vaccinated, regarding the COVID problem, you need to get vaccinated."

Graham noted that vaccination rates in his home state of South Carolina remain relatively low.

"So in my state, about 50 percent of people still aren't vaccinated," he said. "Just for your own good and the good of our state, I would urge you to consider getting vaccinated. I think the vaccine is safe, it works, and certainly I'm glad I had it. And the sooner we get to herd immunity, through vaccinations and other means, the better off we'll be."

Earlier this month, Graham announced that he tested positive for COVID-19 despite being fully vaccinated. He was the first senator known to experience a "breakthrough" case of the coronavirus — when a vaccinated person gets infected.

Such breakthrough infections are uncommon, and have been less severe overall than infections in unvaccinated people.

“I started having flu-like symptoms Saturday night and went to the doctor this morning. I feel like I have a sinus infection and at present time I have mild symptoms. I will be quarantining for ten days,” he said at the time.

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He returned to the Senate following his self-isolation on Tuesday.

"No one's being asked to go off to fight radical Islam or fight a foreign enemy. We're being asked to make responsible medical decisions. Take the vaccine," he said in a final appeal during his Tuesday message.