Health

Trump endorses COVID boosters and calls out politicians who won’t reveal their status

After nearly
two years in which Trump downplayed the threat of the coronavirus — and in
which his allies spread misinformation about the vaccines — many of his
supporters are resisting even their initial shots, much less a booster.
Vaccination rates are much lower among Republicans than among Democrats.

Trump
himself received his initial vaccine series quietly in January 2021, and did
not publicly encourage Americans to get vaccinated until the end of February.
When he said in an appearance last month that he had gotten a booster, the
audience booed him.

In the
interview aired Tuesday on the far-right One America News network, Trump said:
“I’ve had the booster. Many politicians — I watched a couple of politicians be
interviewed and one of the questions was, ‘Did you get the booster?’ Because
they had the vaccine. And they’re answering like, in other words, the answer is
yes, but they don’t want to say it. Because they’re gutless. You got to say it,
whether you had it or not. Say it.”

Trump did
not mention any politicians by name in his comments, but many viewers
interpreted his statement as a criticism of Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida, who
is one of those politicians — and who has not ruled out running against Trump
in a Republican primary in 2024. DeSantis’ office did not immediately respond
to a request for comment Wednesday.

Trump’s
comments were in response to a question from OAN host Dan Ball, who asked if
the former president regretted his push for vaccination “after so many months
of the vaccine being administered and these side effects.”

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Trump said
that he had not experienced any side effects and added, “The fact is that I
think the vaccines saved tens of millions throughout the world.”

But, Trump
said, he continued to oppose vaccine mandates, which some state and local
officials have enacted and the Biden administration is pursuing.

© 2022 The
New York Times Company

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