Trump told his supporters to get the vaccine. Will it make a difference?
Trump said he recommended the vaccine “to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”
Former President Donald Trump wants his supporters to get vaccinated.
“I would recommend it,” Trump said Tuesday in an interview with “Fox News Primetime” host Maria Bartiromo. “I would recommend it to a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.”
Trump, who was hospitalized last October after testing positive for COVID-19, said the vaccine “works incredibly well” and is “really saving our country.” He and his wife, former first lady Melania Trump, received the vaccine in January.
Trump didn’t publicize his vaccination, and he was the only former president to not appear in a recent public service announcement promoting the vaccine. His comments recommending vaccinations come following the urging of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, who said Sunday that Trump’s endorsement could be a “game changer.” Others, including President Joe Biden and a focus group conducted by pollster Frank Luntz, believe local leaders and medical professionals would be more effective.
Recent polling has found high levels of vaccine hesitancy among Trump supporters, including Republican men (49%), people who supported Trump in the 2020 election (47%), and Republicans (41%). There is also evidence of overlap on Facebook between vaccine hesitancy and users affiliated with the debunked QAnon conspiracy theory, according to documents related to an internal Facebook study obtained by The Washington Post.
Trump acknowledged that some of his supporters might not want to be told what to do during his Tuesday Fox News interview, but he said the vaccine is safe.
“We have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that, also,” Trump said. “But it is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works.”
Operation Warp Speed was the Trump administration’s public-private partnership to accelerate, manufacture and distribute vaccinations. Announced in May 2020, it was funded by nearly $10 billion provided through the CARES Act, and supported efforts by Moderna, Oxford University and AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Merck, and Pfizer.
Andy Slavitt, a senior adviser to President Joe Biden’s Covid team, told Fox News he tipped his hat to the Trump administration’s work on the initiative.
“The Trump administration made sure that we got in record time a vaccine up and out,” Slavitt said. “That’s a great thing and it’s something we should all be excited about.”