In what appears to be a breakthrough infection, Rep. Brian Babin (R-Texas) said on Twitter that he started to have “mild, cold-like symptoms” on Friday. After tested negative for COVID-19 several times, the test result returned positive on Saturday morning.
The congressman added that he is recovering from COVID-19 at home and following a therapeutic regimen to recover, under the advice and direction of his physicians. “I’ve felt better, but I’ve also felt worse,” he said.
Babin, who is among 15 House Republicans who urged Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin to not impose COVID-19 vaccine mandates on service members, said he has been fully vaccinated since late December of 2020.
“I’m against vaccine mandates,” said Babin, reported Fox4. “But I strongly encourage people to get vaccinated if they are older or have underlying conditions.”
The announcement came amid an effort by the White House COVID-19 response team and public health officials to encourage Americans to get COVID-19 shots. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said a third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine can now be officially administered to millions of older or otherwise vulnerable people.
Under the CDC’s endorsement, booster shots should be offered to Pfizer vaccine recipients who are 65 and older and those who live in long-term care facilities at least six months after receiving their second dose.
Those eligible to the Pfizer boosters also include adults 18 and over with certain underlying health conditions like diabetes and obesity; and those who are deemed at higher risk of COVID-19 because of where they work or where they live, such as healthcare workers, teachers, and grocery store workers.
President Joe Biden is pushing a pandemic response plan that includes new vaccine mandates, booster shots for the vaccinated, and increased testing. The president, who received his second dose of Pfizer vaccine in January, said on Friday morning that he will be getting a booster shot.
“It’s hard to acknowledge I’m over 65, but I’ll be getting my booster shot,” he said. “I’m not sure exactly when I’m going to do it—as soon as I can get it done.”
The idea of boosters is based on concerns that the effectiveness of the vaccines could decline over time and that one or more additional shots are needed to strengthen protection against the CCP virus and its variants. Despite his push for boosters, Biden insisted that the odds of a breakthrough infection are low.
“The bottom line is: If you’re fully vaccinated, you’re highly protected from severe illness even if you get COVID-19,” he said, citing a New York Times data analysis, which indicates there’s only one confirmed positive case per 5,000 fully vaccinated Americans per day.