SC politicians in Congress respond to questions about their vaccination status

All but one member of the SC Congressional delegation publicly says they’re gotten the COVID-19 vaccine
Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 8:20 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 3, 2021 at 8:22 PM EDT
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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Of the nine lawmakers who make up the South Carolina congressional delegations, eight say they are vaccinated against COVID-19.

Rep. William Timmons, R-SC, declined to comment on his vaccination status and wrote in a statement that they should remain optional.

“Vaccines are available for any South Carolinian who chooses to get one, but no one should be mandated to get the vaccine,” Timmons wrote in a statement.

Reps. Mace, Duncan, Wilson, Norman, Rice, and Clyburn all either had posted their vaccination station online or confirmed in a statement to WIS that they’d received the shot.

In the U.S. Senate, both Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott have posted pictures of getting the vaccine and encouraged others to also roll up their sleeves.

After contracting COVID-19 after getting vaccinated, Graham tweeted, “I am very glad I was vaccinated because without vaccination I am certain I would not feel as well as I do now. My symptoms would be far worse.”

Rep. Tom Rice has attended vaccination events and is outspoken about the benefits of the shot.

“I think it helps the individual and I think it helps society as a whole for people to get vaccinated,” he said.

According to a CNN survey, Almost half of Republicans in the U.S. House won’t publicly say if they’ve been vaccinated against COVID-19.

In comparison, all House Democrats have said they are vaccinated, per CNN’s reporting.

Rice pushed back on the notion that getting the COVID-19 vaccine is simply an issue of left v. right.

“I really don’t see it as a partisan issue,” he said. “I think Republicans are often more skeptical of government and often that’s justified. And, I think Republicans are more rooted in personal freedom and often that’s a good thing.”

In a statement, Rep. Ralph Norman said that the vaccine works, but stressed getting the shot should be a personal choice.

“There is absolutely no ambiguity in the data,” he wrote. “Even with the Delta variant, hospitalization and death rates for those who have been fully vaccinated remains extremely low. While COVID vaccines are, and must always remain, a personal decision free from government mandates, I believe it’s incumbent upon everyone to understand the effectiveness of these vaccines, their risks relative to any other vaccine, and what the potential consequences could be for choosing to remain unvaccinated.”

As the Delta variant continues to infect and hospitalize some unvaccinated Americans, Rice hopes people will feel a renewed sense of urgency to get vaccinated.

“I think more and more of those folks will overtime move to vaccination particularly when we see this incidence of infection increase again. I think the fear factor will encourage a lot of people to go ahead and do it,” he said.

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