Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was booed at a Republican event in South Carolina on Saturday after he encouraged attendees to consider getting a COVID-19 vaccine.
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 shouted and booed again.
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!”
The overwhelming majority of COVID-19 deaths and hospitalizations across the country are occurring among unvaccinated people as the virulent delta strain continues to spread.
Graham has been vaccinated, and he credited it for his quick recovery after he came down with a breakthrough COVID-19 infection in August. “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.
Surveys have found that, despite a shift in messaging from top Republicans on coronavirus immunizations, vaccine hesitancy remains strong in holdout areas, and the staunch anti-vaccine base appears unable to be swayed.
Trump was similarly booed at one of his rallies in August after he told supporters he believed in their freedoms but recommended they get vaccinated.
It comes as scores of GOP lawmakers, Fox News and other right-wing media sources continue to rail against vaccine mandates announced by President Joe Biden that require businesses with more than 100 employees to require either vaccination or weekly COVID-19 testing.
Graham told supporters Saturday he was with them on the mandates, saying they’re “probably unconstitutional.”