Former President Donald Trump backed the efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines during an interview with conservative media personality Candace Owens on Wednesday after she attempted to undermine the vaccines’ success.
“I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines,” Trump said during the interview. “All are very, very good. Came up with three of them in less than nine months. It was supposed to take five to 12 years.”
“Yet more people have died under COVID this year, by the way, under Joe Biden, than under you and more people took the vaccine this year,” Owens interjected. “So people are questioning how —”
“Oh no, the vaccines work,” Trump jumped in. “But some people are the ones — the ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected.”
“Look, the results of the vaccine are very good, and if you do get it, it’s a very minor form,” he continued. “People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine.”
Since leaving office, Trump has repeatedly praised his administration’s vaccine development efforts but has remained steadfastly against mask and vaccine mandates.
“People have to have their freedom,” he told Owens.
Owens has repeatedly questioned the effectiveness of the vaccines and other COVID-19 restrictions on social media. In October, she said she was not vaccinated and reiterated last month that she was refusing to even consider getting inoculated.
Trump was vaccinated against COVID-19 shortly before he left office and revealed this past weekend that he has also received his booster shot.
On Tuesday, President Biden praised his predecessor’s vaccine development and touted his own administration’s rollout.
“Let me be clear,” the president said. “Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America was one of the first countries to get the vaccine. Thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout that made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms.”
Biden also commended his predecessor for receiving the booster shot, saying it “may be one of the few things he and I agree on.”
Hours later, Trump revealed in an interview with Fox News that he was “very appreciative” and “surprised” by the public praise from Biden.
“I’m very appreciative of that — I was surprised to hear it,” Trump said.
“I think it was a terrific thing and I think it makes a lot of people happy.”
The unexpected — and likely brief — unity between the two comes as the US endures a massive surge in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant.
With thousands of Americans expected to travel across the country for the holiday season this year, the Biden administration announced a series of actions this week in an attempt to curb the case surge — including opening new federal testing sites and mailing half a billion at-home COVID test kits for those who request them starting next month.
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