“I would recommend it and I would recommend it to a lot of people who don’t want to get it and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly,” Trump told Fox News’s Maria Bartiromo.
“But again,” he continued, “we have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that as well. But it’s a great vaccine. It’s a safe vaccine and it’s something that works. ”
The comments – which constitute Trump’s strongest endorsement of the vaccination – come as Republicans ‘reluctance to vaccinate continues to threaten the United States’ path to collective immunity. While 92% of Democrats have been vaccinated or want to be vaccinated, that number drops to 50% among Republicans, according to a CNN poll conducted by the SSRS.
Although Trump urged his supporters to “go get your chance” during his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month, his decision to quietly receive the vaccine without public fanfare earlier this year has drawn close scrutiny and contrasted with its successor and predecessors.
Earlier this week, the Trump administration’s coronavirus testing czar Admiral Brett Giroir called on Trump and former Vice President Mike Pence to encourage vaccinations in light of data indicating that many Republicans do not do not intend to be vaccinated.
“I think it’s very important for former President Trump – as well as the Vice President – to actively encourage all of their supporters to get vaccinated,” Giroir told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “The Lead.”
When asked why Trump was vaccinated behind closed doors and whether that had been a mistake, Giroir said he did not know the former president had been vaccinated “until I heard it like it was reported in the news, ”later adding,“ But I think the point is now, and I think that’s where we are, where we all need to come together and cheer on every American.
“The people who follow our former president are very attached to President Trump, and I think his leadership still matters a lot, and I think we need to do a better job of reaching out to underserved minority communities that have been disproportionately affected. ”
CNN’s Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly contributed to this report.