FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as President Joe Biden speaks during an event to commemorate the 50 millionth COVID-19 shot in Washington. Fauci said Sunday, March 14, he wishes former President Donald Trump would use his popularity among Republicans to persuade his followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In a round of interviews on the morning news shows, Fauci lamented polling showing that Trump supporters are more likely to refuse to get vaccinated, saying politics needs to be separated from “commonsense, no-brainer” public health measures. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

FILE - In this Feb. 25, 2021, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, listens as President Joe Biden speaks during an event to commemorate the 50 millionth COVID-19 shot in Washington. Fauci said Sunday, March 14, he wishes former President Donald Trump would use his popularity among Republicans to persuade his followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine. In a round of interviews on the morning news shows, Fauci lamented polling showing that Trump supporters are more likely to refuse to get vaccinated, saying politics needs to be separated from “commonsense, no-brainer” public health measures. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File)

Trump should urge his followers to get vaccinated: Dr. Fauci

Fauci said it would be a ‘game changer’ if the former president used his “incredible influence” among Republicans.

Dr. Anthony Fauci said Sunday he wishes former President Donald Trump would use his popularity among Republicans to persuade more of his followers to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

In a round of interviews on the morning news shows, the government’s top infectious disease expert lamented polling showing that Trump supporters are more likely to refuse to get vaccinated, saying politics needs to be separated from “commonsense, no-brainer” public health measures.

Fauci said it would be a “game changer” for the country’s vaccine efforts if the former president used his “incredible influence” among Republicans.

“If he came out and said, ‘Go and get vaccinated. It’s really important for your health, the health of your family and the health of the country,’ it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him,” Fauci told “Fox News Sunday.”

There was no immediate comment from the former president’s office Sunday.

Trump has urged people to get vaccinated, doing so again two weeks ago at a conservative political gathering in Florida.

But he hasn’t been among former presidents and other public officials who have been vaccinated on camera to encourage others to get the shot. It was revealed only recently that he was vaccinated in private at the White House before leaving office in January.

Trump did not appear in a new public service campaign for the COVID-19 vaccine that included former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.

Polls have shown Republicans joining Black people and other groups in expressing greater skepticism than others about the safety of the vaccine.

Fauci said he doesn’t understand the resistance.

“What is the problem here? This is a vaccine that is going to be lifesaving for millions of people,” he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He added: “I mean, I just can’t comprehend what the reason for that is when you have a vaccine that’s 94-95% effective and it is very safe. I just don’t get it.”

The number of vaccine doses distributed and administered each day in the U.S. is rising, with more than 2.5 million daily shots in arms on average in the last week.

About 1 in 5 Americans have received at least one dose, with about 1 in 9 fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The coronavirus is blamed for over 530,000 deaths in the United States. Deaths and newly confirmed infections per day have tumbled over the past two months. But cases are running at a still-troubling average of about 55,000 a day.

Fauci repeatedly warned against pulling back on public health measures too early, saying the virus could come surging back, endangering the goal of getting the country closer to normal by early July.

He pointed to Europe as a cautionary tale. Rising virus cases this winter followed rollbacks on restrictions on the continent.

___

Associated Press writer Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

Michelle Liu, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Coronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dawson Road Maintenance crews have been working on road base failures on Highway 20. (Dawson Road Maintenance Facebook photo)
ROAD REPORT: Dawson Road Maintenance provides update on Cariboo Chilcotin road conditions

Road bases still soft, saturated at multiple locations in Cariboo Chilcotin due to spring freshet

The Central Coast snowpack is now sitting at 146 percent (Felicia Harris photo)
Central Coast snowpack now 46 per cent above normal

The risk of spring flooding is elevated due to the above normal snowpack across the entire province

Residents line up socially distanced at the Seedy Saturday event, held at the Lobelco Hall parking lot from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. April 3 with strict COVID-19 restrictions and precautions in place. (Nicole Kaechele photo)
Seedlings, plants and seeds offered at Seedy Saturday

“It was a fairly good turnout,” noted Elizabeth Howard

The Bella Coola Valley Arts Council (BCVAC) has recently received two awards totaling $40,000 from the province-wide British Columbia Arts Council, part of the StrongerBC: BC’s Economic Recovery Plan. The grants are to be used to stimulate local arts communities and to help them cope with impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo submitted)
Bella Coola Valley Arts Council receives $40,000 for local projects

The grants will be used to stimulte local arts communities and help them cope with the pandemic

Nuxalk Sputc Crew technician Scmlh (Jason Moody) walks in Bella Coola River towards sputc holding tank with cinematographer Louvens Remy (photo submitted)
Documentary to highlight importance of sputc for Nuxalk Nation

Sputc: We Shall Eat When the River is Full is a cinematic tale of wealth, loss and recovery

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and United States President Joe Biden smile as they say farewell following a virtual joint statement in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pledges to cut emissions by 40% to 45% by 2030, short of U.S. goal

Trudeau announced target during a virtual climate summit convened by U.S. President Joe Biden

MLA Shirley Bond, right, answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on February 19, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Former B.C. gaming minister says she wasn’t told directly about dirty cash flowing to casinos

Shirley Bond said Thursday civil forfeiture, gang violence and gambling addiction were also major concerns in 2011

RCMP Constable Etsell speaks to tourists leaving the area at a police roadblock on Westside Road south of Fintry, B.C., Thursday, July 23, 2009. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Yvonne Berg
B.C. police say they take ‘exception’ to conducting roadblocks limiting travel

Asking the police to enforce roadblocks exposes officers to further risk and possible COVID-19 infections, says federation president Brian Sauve

As part of the province’s strategy to combat the opioid overdose crisis, take-home naloxone kits have been distributed throughout the province. (Courtesy of Gaëlle Nicolussi)
Vancouver Island could be at its worst point of overdose crises yet: medical health officer

Island Health issued overdose advisories for Victoria, various communities in the last two weeks

BC Hydro released a survey Thursday, April 22. It found that many British Columbians are unintentionally contributing to climate change with their yard maintenance choices. (Pixabay)
Spend a lot of time doing yard work? It might be contributing to climate change

Recent BC Hydro survey finds 60% of homeowners still use gas-powered lawnmowers and yard equipment

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Journal de Montreal is seen in Montreal, on Thursday, April 22, 2021. The daily newspaper uses a file picture of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau dressed in traditional Indian clothing during his trip to India to illustrate a story on the Indian variant of the coronavirus. Paul Chiasson/The Canadian Press
Montreal newspaper blasted for front-page photo of Trudeau in India

Trudeau is wearing traditional Indian clothes and holding his hands together in prayer beside a caption that reads, ‘The Indian variant has arrived’

Nanaimo RCMP say a man was injured while pouring gunpowder on a backyard fire in Harewood on Wednesday, April 21. (File photo)
Nanaimo man hospitalized after pouring gunpowder onto backyard fire

RCMP investigating explosion in Harewood also came across a still for making alcohol on property

Most Read