President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump quietly received the COVID-19 vaccine at the White House in January, several outlets reported Monday.
A Trump adviser shared the information with Axios, The New York Times and CNN. It’s unclear which of the two vaccines approved at the time they received.
Other political leaders have publicized their own vaccinations as a way to encourage all Americans to sign up for the shot when their turn comes. Mass vaccination is the only thing that will get the country out of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Monday.
Donald Trump’s approach contrasts, in particular, with those of President Joe Biden and other living former presidents who allowed their shots to be broadcast, saying they wanted to promote trust in the process.
The news broke a day after Trump said at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference that “everybody” should get the coronavirus vaccine ― an idea he’s skirted around in the past.
Republicans tend to be more skeptical of the vaccine, according to Civiqs polling, making encouragement from Trump and other right-wing public figures important in the effort to vaccinate the country. Only 33% of unvaccinated Republicans said they planned to get a vaccine when it became available to them, compared to 70% of unvaccinated Democrats.
Many of Trump’s fans, including those at far-right media outlets such as Newsmax, support baseless conspiracy theories about the vaccine, including the false claim that it’s a system for mind control. On Fox News, host Tucker Carlson proclaimed the mere idea of a mandatory vaccination program to be “a legitimate crisis,” even though the Biden administration is not calling for one.
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