A staunch Republican opponent of vaccine mandates has revealed that he was previously infected with Covid-19 this summer and did not tell his constituents.
Jim Jordan, who represents Ohio’s highly gerrymandered 4th District in the US House of Representatives, said in an interview on Tuesday that he had Covid "early in the summer", without giving details.
"I’ve had the virus," he said in response to a question from Spectrum News about whether he had been vaccinated. "I don’t talk about my health status with reporters, but I’ve had the coronavirus and recovered, and actually had that antibody test done, and it showed my antibodies were strong."
He had previously told the same reporter in early June that he had never had the virus, putting his infection some time in June or July. In both interviews he refused to say whether he had been vaccinated.
"I think we’re way past this," he insisted then. "I think the country is ready to move on and we’re done with this, but you guys just keep wanting to talk about it. I have not [been vaccinated], but I have been tested, I don’t know how many umpteen dozens of times."
Mr Jordan has strongly opposed vaccine mandates, calling them "un-American", and has even said that Ohio should "ban all vaccine mandates", not just those for Covid.
Ohio schools require children to be vaccinated for tetanus, diptheria, pertussis, polio, measles, mumps, rubella, hepatitis B, chickenpox and meningococcal disease, according to state documents for the 2019-20 term.
Before the pandemic, Ohio state legislators had proposed a bipartisan bill to eliminate all non-medical exemptions for childhood vaccinations amid a multi-state measles outbreak, likely driven in part by anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.
Mr Jordan is an ardent backer of Donald Trump who has written that he would often attempt to contact or persuade the president by appearing on Fox News, knowing that he would be watching.
In testimony before a House committee, he claimed that he cannot remember whether he spoke to Mr Trump during the attack on the Capitol building by Trump supporters on 6 January.
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