Former Florida congressman and current Republican candidate for governor of Texas Lt. Col. Allen West was hospitalized with COVID-19 on Sunday, but he says he's "doing great" after receiving early treatment.
West and his wife, Angela West, were both diagnosed with the virus after attending a crowded fundraiser in Seabrook, Texas, last week. On Saturday, he announced that he is "suspending in-person events until receiving an all-clear indication" from his doctors.
Sharing an update on his condition, he said he and his wife were given monoclonal antibody treatments and that he was expected to be admitted to the hospital after chest X-rays showed he had COVID-related pneumonia.
West was admitted to a hospital in Plano, a Dallas suburb, on Sunday. In a phone interview with the Associated Press, he reported that he has "no complaints. I'm just relaxing."
Angela West, who was vaccinated against COVID-19, has been released to go home. The former congressman, who is not vaccinated, said he was kept for observation because his oxygen saturation levels were a bit low.
In several social media posts, West criticized COVID-19 vaccines and strongly stated his opposition to vaccine mandates.
"I can attest that, after this experience, I am even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates. Instead of enriching the pockets of Big Pharma and corrupt bureaucrats and politicians, we should be advocating the monoclonal antibody infusion therapy," West tweeted Sunday.
"Instead of jabbing Americans, and not illegal immigrants, with a dangerous shot which injects them with these spike proteins ... guess what? I now have natural immunity and double the antibodies, and that's science," he said.
"As Governor of Texas, I will vehemently crush anyone forcing vaccine mandates in the Lone Star State. There are far better protocols that individual citizens can utilize and decide for themselves."
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, having been approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration and administered to millions of people in the United States. Side effects are rare, and the CDC says that "the known risks of COVID-19 illness and its related, possibly severe complications, such as long-term health problems, hospitalization, and even death, far outweigh the potential risks of having a rare adverse reaction to vaccination, including the possible risk of myocarditis or pericarditis."
West, the former Texas Republican Party chairman, announced in July that he would challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term and has received former President Donald Trump's endorsement.
West announced his campaign for governor one month after resigning as chairman of the Texas GOP. He has made opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates and other coronavirus restrictions a central theme of his campaign and activism in Texas.
In October 2020, West participated in a protest outside Abbott's home, objecting to statewide mask mandate and lockdown orders issued by Abbott during the pandemic.
After the Wests' diagnosis, Abbott wished both of them a speedy recovery.