Trump hails the COVID-19 vaccine as 'one of the greatest achievements of mankind' and rejects vaccine skepticism in new interview
- Trump called the COVID-19 vaccine "one of the greatest achievements of mankind."
- He also rejected vaccine hesitancy and skepticism.
Former President Donald Trump hailed the COVID-19 vaccine and pushed back on vaccine skepticism in a new interview with conservative commentator Candace Owens.
Trump called the vaccine "one of the greatest achievements of mankind" and praised his administration's success in getting the vaccine developed on his watch.
Typically, vaccine development takes years, but the Trump administration pumped billions of dollars into Operation Warp Speed to help produce a vaccine ready at record speed. The Food and Drug Administration authorized the Moderna and BioNTech-Pfizer vaccines for emergency use in December 2020. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine was authorized for emergency use in February under President Joe Biden's administration.
"All are very, very good. Came up with three of them in less than nine months. It was supposed to take five to 12 years," Trump told Owens.
Owens has previously elevated vaccine skepticism and has repeatedly said that she has not gotten the vaccine. "It will NEVER enter my arm," she tweeted in August.
In her interview with Trump, Owens raised doubts about the vaccine, saying the COVID-19 death toll has still increased even as the vaccines have been made available over the past year.
Trump firmly rejected the proposition. "No, the vaccine worked. But some people aren't taking it. The ones that get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don't take their vaccine."
Though Trump said he disagrees with vaccine mandates, he encouraged getting the shot.
"If you take the vaccine, you're protected. Look, the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get [COVID-19], it's a very minor form. People aren't dying when they take their vaccine," the former president said.
—Popper (@Kukicat7) December 22, 2021
More than 200 million people in the United States are vaccinated against COVID-19, making up roughly 60% of the population. But confirmed coronavirus cases continue to rise across the country as the highly contagious Omicron variant spreads. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that while breakthrough cases among vaccinated people are to be expected, as no vaccine is 100% effective, there's ample evidence that the vaccines are highly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. The first American believed to have died of the Omicron variant was an unvaccinated man from Texas who had had coronavirus once before.
Some of Trump's supporters recently booed at the former president as he revealed that he got his COVID-19 booster shot.
"Look, we did something that was historic, we saved tens of millions of lives worldwide when we, together, all of us, we got a vaccine done," Trump said at an event for Fox News host Bill O'Reilly's "History Tour" earlier this week. "This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now. Take credit for it."
Trump's pro-vaccination stance differs from many members of his party, who tend to be more hesitant to get the vaccine, according to polling. Counties that supported Trump also have lower vaccination rates and higher death rates due to COVID-19.
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