FORBES – Facing pressure to more enthusiastically promote Covid-19 vaccines with vast numbers of Republicans still hesitant about getting inoculated, former President Donald Trump delivered a ringing endorsement of the jab in an interview with the New York Post on Thursday.
In his first public media effort dedicated solely to endorsing the vaccine, Trump said he’s “all in favor” of the shot, adding it’s a “great thing” that people “should take advantage of.”
The former president has endorsed the vaccine several times—he advocated for the shot during two separate interviews with Fox News and once during a Conservative Political Action Conference speech in February—but this marks the first time he has given an interview focused specifically on encouraging Americans to get immunized.
“Nobody should be forced; we have our freedoms,” but it’s a “real lifesaver,” Trump said.
Republicans are among the groups with the highest rate of vaccine hesitancy, with 45% indicating they do not plan on getting the vaccine in a recent Quinnipiac University poll.
Trump—who was vaccinated behind closed doors, unlike Joe Biden and other former presidents—said he received his first shot in January before leaving the White House and his second in Florida.
The former president indicated he had no adverse reaction to the shot: “Not even a bit of arm soreness,” he told the Post.
In an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday, Trump said he doesn’t understand why Republicans are skeptical of Covid-19 vaccines.
“I don’t know what that is exactly,” he said. While endorsing the shot in various interviews, Trump has sought to take credit for bringing vaccines to market.
Touting Operation Warp Speed—a public-private partnership launched by the Trump Administration to accelerate vaccine development—and his pressure on the Food and Drug Administration to approve a shot, Trump has claimed it would have taken “many, many years” for Covid-19 vaccines to be produced if not for him.
Experts say Operation Warp Speed achieved many of the targets it set out to reach, but floundered when it came to the rollout … Click here to read more.