Former President Donald Trump openly advocated for his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine during a Tuesday night appearance on Fox News, describing the federally approved coronavirus vaccines as “safe” and “great.”
In recent weeks, concerns have grown over the increasing number of Republicans—and especially Trump supporters—who have said they will not get a shot once they are eligible. A recent NPR/Marist poll, for example, found nearly half of all Republican males would reject an immunization.
Public health experts, meanwhile, have publicly called for the ex-president—who was secretly vaccinated back in January—to reach out to his followers and tell them that the vaccines are safe and effective in an effort to combat conservative vaccine hesitancy.
Calling into Fox News Primetime, which was hosted by Trump-boosting host Maria Bartiromo on Tuesday, the ex-president first took the opportunity to grumble that President Joe Biden hasn’t given him enough praise for the vaccines’ quick development and approval.
“So when you go to the COVID issue, we did a great job. We get very little credit for it,” he said before adding: “But the big thing, and I have always felt it was the most important, the vaccine. The key was always going to be the vaccine.”
After criticizing Biden some more, the former president then noted that “we saved many millions of lives” with Operation Warp Speed before boasting about the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines’ efficacy rate, which is around 95 percent.
“It works incredibly well. And it is really saving our country and it is saving frankly the world,” he said.
“So, Mr. President, I know you received the vaccine. Mrs. Trump also got the vaccine. Would you recommend to our audience that they get the vaccine, then?” Bartiromo then asked Trump.
“I would,” he replied. “I would recommend it and 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 also gave a nod to the anti-vaccine crowd, saying, “We have our freedoms and we have to live by that, and I agree with that also.”
He then concluded: “But it is a great vaccine. It is a safe vaccine and it is something that works.”