Former President Donald Trump has received widespread praise for his administration’s efforts to develop effective COVID-19 vaccination options.
Now, he is encouraging his fellow Americans to receive a shot amid declining public confidence in the vaccines.
“One of the great achievements”
The Biden administration’s decision to pause the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to study a possible rare side effect has sparked speculation that some Americans are not convinced that the shots are safe.
“I’m all in favor of the vaccine,” Trump said in an interview with the New York Post. “It’s one of the great achievements, a true miracle, and not only for the United States.”
He went on to declare that the medical breakthrough is “saving tens of millions of lives throughout the world” and “saving entire countries” during the continuing public health crisis.
The Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed led to the development and quick approval of the vaccines, which have been available in the U.S. since mid-December.
Although he called it “a great thing” and said “people should take advantage of it,” he echoed concerns from others in his party, declaring that “nobody should be forced, we have our freedoms.”
“I strongly recommend it”
Nevertheless, the former president made his own opinion clear, stating: “But I strongly recommend it because it’s a real lifesaver.”
Although public confidence in the vaccines had been as high as 52% with only about one in four considering them unsafe, polling after the Johnson & Johnson pause showed just 37% believed the vaccines were safe — two points lower than the number of respondents who thought they were unsafe.
Critics on both sides of the aisle denounced the Biden administration’s decision to halt the use of the single-dose inoculation in response to a handful of blood clots reported among women who had received it.
The FDA has subsequently ended the pause, offering guidance to medical professionals to watch for signs of the possible clotting issue that appear to have affected about 15 of the nearly 8 million people vaccinated with a Johnson & Johnson shot.
Given its status as the only vaccine option delivered in a single dose, the option has been seen as especially important to the national vaccination effort — particularly in underserved communities.