After he encouraged people to get a COVID-19 vaccination, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R.S.C.), was heckled at an event for Republicans in South Carolina.
The senator was speaking at an event hosted by the Dorchester County Republican Party at the Summerville Country Club. In a video published by the Daily Beast, Graham, who has often advocated for the COVID-19 vaccine, asked supporters to consider getting the shot.
“If you haven’t had the vaccine, you ought to think about getting it because, if you’re my age,” he said, before he was interrupted by boos and shouts of “No!” from the crowd.
“I didn’t tell you to get it,” he continued. “You ought to think about it.”
The crowd cheered and booed once more.
Graham went on to add that he was glad he’d been vaccinated, noting that 92% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 in South Carolina were not vaccinated. Members of the crowd shouted “False!” and “Not true!”
As the virus continues to spread, the vast majority of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths across the nation are happening among people who have not been vaccinated.
Graham was vaccinated and credits it with his rapid recovery from a COVID-19-related infection. “I’m confident if I hadn’t had the vaccine, it would’ve been a lot worse,” he said at the time.
Though a number of prominent Republicans ― including former President Donald Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) ― have endorsed the vaccine in recent months, the messages haven’t been able to undo the harm caused by widespread misinformation.
According to surveys, even though top Republicans have changed their messaging on coronavirus vaccinations, the vaccine hesitancy in areas with high holdouts remains strong and it seems that anti-vaccine sentiment is not changing.
Trump also received boos during an August rally, when he stated that he supported their rights but advised them to get vaccinated.
This comes at a time when scores of GOP legislators, Fox News, and other right-wing media outlets continue to rail against President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandates that businesses employing more than 100 people must be vaccinated or undergo weekly COVID-19 testing.
Graham told supporters Saturday he was with them on the mandates, saying they’re “probably unconstitutional.”