Vaccinated Staffers for Pelosi, WH Test COVID Positive After Texas Democrats Gathering

A White House official and a staff member for Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi of California have tested positive for COVID-19, according to officials.

Both of the staffers were vaccinated. The staff members are experiencing mild symptoms of the virus, according to Axios. While the vaccine does not completely protect a person from getting and transmitting COVID-19, it does decrease the severity of symptoms if the person were to contract the virus.

"We know that there will be breakthrough cases, but as this instance shows, cases in vaccinated individuals are typically mild," a White House official told Axios.

Pelosi's staff member led the group of Texas Democrats through the U.S. Capitol last week when the delegation flew to Washington, D.C., to stop Texas Republicans from passing restrictive voting laws. Six of the Texas lawmakers have since tested positive for COVID-19, all of whom were vaccinated against the virus.

The staffer and the White House official both attended a rooftop reception at the Hotel Eaton in D.C. on Wednesday. Neither of them had any recent, close contact with Pelosi or President Joe Biden, according to Axios.

Pelosi's Deputy Chief of Staff Drew Hammill confirmed to Newsweek that Pelosi was not in contact with the staff member. Hammill did not reveal who the staffer was, but he said it was a fully vaccinated senior spokesperson in the Speaker's Press Office.

"The entire Press Office is working remotely today with the exception of individuals who have had no exposure to the individual or have had a recent negative test," Hammill said in a statement. "Our office will continue to follow the guidance of the Office of Attending Physician closely."

Nansy Pelosi and Joe Biden
An aid for the Speaker of the House Rep. Nancy Pelosi and a White House official tested positive for COVID-19 after meeting with Texas Democrats. Above, Pelosi speaks while Biden listens during an event in the Rose Garden of the White House on March 12. Alex Wong/Getty Images

The White House told Axios that the official tested positive off-campus and that person is waiting for the results of a PCR test in accordance with the White House's COVID-19 protocols.

"The White House is prepared for breakthrough cases with regular testing. This is another reminder of the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines against severe illness or hospitalization. We wish our colleague a speedy recovery," an official said.

The White House Medical Unit also contact-traced the individual and confirmed that the official was not in contact with staff or the president since testing positive.

A Florida Republican, Rep. Vern Buchanan, announced on Monday that he had tested positive for COVID-19. He is also fully vaccinated and experiencing "very mild flu-like symptoms."

"I look forward to returning to work as soon as possible," Buchanan said in a statement. "In the meantime, this should serve as a reminder that although the vaccines provide a very high degree of protection, we must remain vigilant in the fight against COVID-19."

Buchanan became the first congressman to test positive for COVID-19 this summer, adding to the trend of fully vaccinated officials catching the virus.

Newsweek reached out to the White House for comment but did not hear back by publication time.