Allen West, a Tea Party firebrand who is seeking the Republican nomination to run for governor of Texas, has been hospitalized after testing positive for COVID-19. The former Republican congressman from Florida is unvaccinated and has vehemently opposed vaccine mandates. West’s wife, who is vaccinated, also tested positive and was briefly hospitalized but later released after receiving treatment with monoclonal antibodies. West tested positive for the virus mere days after he attended a crowded fundraiser in Seabrook, Texas.
While in the hospital, West sent a series of tweets in which he criticized vaccine mandates while he also promoted unapproved treatments for the coronavirus. “Our bodies are our last sanctuary of liberty and freedom,” he wrote. In one tweet, the 60-year-old West said he had taken the anti-malarial drug hydroxychloroquine and the anti-parasitic ivermectin, neither of which has been approved to treat COVID-19. West also received monoclonal antibody treatments and said he has remained in the hospital in part because doctors were concerned about his oxygen saturation levels but he otherwise feels fine. “No complaints. I’m just relaxing,” West told the Associated Press during a brief phone interview.
Despite his hospitalization, West wrote on Twitter that he’s now “even more dedicated to fighting against vaccine mandates” in part because they end up “enriching the pockets of Big Pharma.” But, as the Washington Post points out, monoclonal antibodies are actually far more expensive than vaccines. Monoclonal antibodies cost around $2,100 per dose, while the most expensive COVID-19 vaccines are around $20 per shot. He also criticized “propaganda commercials” that include testimony of people who lost loved ones to COVID-19 saying they wished they had been vaccinated. “This level of manipulative deception must end,” he wrote.
West, a former chair of the Texas Republican Party, announced in July he would challenge Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, who is running for a third term. Abbott, who is vaccinated, was diagnosed with COVID-19 in August. “Cecilia and I are sending well wishes to Allen and Angela,” Abbott tweeted on Saturday. “You are in our prayers. Get well soon.”