Biden Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin tests positive for COVID-19

According to a statement, Austin is fully vaccinated

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Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has tested positive for the coronavirus on Sunday after experiencing symptoms of the virus while at home on leave.

In an emailed statement released Sunday night, Austin said that he is fully vaccinated and received his booster shot in October, which he says has made the infection "much more mild."

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U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, meets South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook, in the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting a​t the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (Jeon Heon-kyun/Pool Photo via AP)

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, left, meets South Korean Defense Minister Suh Wook, in the 53rd Security Consultative Meeting a​t the Ministry of National Defense in Seoul, South Korea, Thursday, Dec. 2, 2021. (Jeon Heon-kyun/Pool Photo via AP) (Jeon Heon-kyun/Pool Photo via AP)

"As my doctor made clear to me, my fully vaccinated status — and the booster I received in early October — have rendered the infection much more mild than it would otherwise have been. And I am grateful for that," Austin said.

The Secretary of Defense says that his symptoms are "mild" and he's following directions from his physician.

Austin said his last meeting with President Biden was on Dec. 21, which is "more than a week" before experiencing any coronavirus symptoms.

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Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holds a briefing in Tbilisi on Oct. 18, 2021. (Photo by VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty Images)

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin holds a briefing in Tbilisi on Oct. 18, 2021. (Photo by VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty Images) (VANO SHLAMOV/AFP via Getty Images)

"My last meeting with President Biden occurred on Tuesday, December 21st, more than a week before I began to experience symptoms. I tested negative that very morning. I have not been in the Pentagon since Thursday, where I met briefly - and only - with a few members of my staff. We were properly masked and socially distanced throughout," Austin said.

Austin said that the vaccines work and will "remain a military medical requirement."

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listens to a question during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin listens to a question during a media briefing at the Pentagon, Wednesday, Aug. 18, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon) (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

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"The vaccines work and will remain a military medical requirement for our workforce. I continue to encourage everyone eligible for a booster shot to get one. This remains a readiness issue," Austin said.

Austin isn't the first Biden administration member to test positive for the coronavirus.

In November, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki tested positive for the coronavirus and did not travel with President Biden on a foreign trip.

Fox News' Jon Brown contributed to this report.