Dr Anthony Fauci has said ‘wildly popular’ Donald Trump could be a ‘game changer’ if he tells his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Almost half of Republican men say they will not get the vaccine when it is available to them compared with just six percent of Democrat men, according to a new poll.
Asked whether Trump should speak to his supporters directly, given those numbers, Fauci told Fox News: ‘I think it would make all the difference in the world.’
Trump, Fauci said, ‘is a such a strongly popular person…it would be very helpful for the effort for that to happen.’
Fauci added: ‘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.
‘I think it would make all the difference in the world. He’s a very wildly popular person among Republicans.’
In a round of interviews on the morning news shows, the government’s top infectious disease expert said politics needs to be separated from ‘commonsense, no-brainer’ public health measures.
Anthony Fauci has said ‘wildly popular’ Donald Trump could be a ‘game changer’ if he tells his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine
Trump did tell supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference, pictured, last month: ‘How unpainful that vaccine shot is, so everybody go get your shot.’ It was the first time he had encouraged people to do so
Fauci said: ‘It seems like an intrinsic contradiction that you had a program that was started during this presidency and he’s not out telling people to get vaccinated, but I wish he would.
‘He has such incredible influence over the people in the Republican Party, it would really be a game-changer if he did.’
Trump did tell supporters at the Conservative Political Action Conference last month: ‘How unpainful that vaccine shot is, so everybody go get your shot.’
It was the first time he had encouraged people to do so.
Fauci said on NBC’s ‘Meet the Press’ program: ‘How such a large proportion of a certain group of people would not want to get vaccinated merely because of political considerations…it makes absolutely no sense,’ Fauci said.
The other living former U.S. presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter – are set to appear in two public service announcements for the coronavirus vaccine alongside their wives, without Trump.
President Joe Biden and other political leaders received their shots publicly to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. Trump was vaccinated privately in the White House in January.
Getting the vaccine is ‘no brainer,’ Fauci told ‘Meet the Press,’ as he listed some of the diseases that vaccines had wiped out such as small pox. ‘What is the problem here? This is a vaccine that is going to be lifesaving for millions of people,’ Fauci said.
Fauci is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an adviser to Biden.
Trump early in the pandemic appeared at coronavirus briefings with Fauci but later turned on him. Trump in October, weeks after being hospitalized for three days for COVID-19 treatment, criticized Fauci, saying, ‘Fauci is a disaster. People are tired of hearing Fauci and all these idiots.’
As president, Trump minimized the need for coronavirus restrictions including wearing masks and predicted the pathogen would disappear ‘like a miracle.’
Asked whether Trump should speak to his supporters directly, given those poll numbers, Fauci told Fox News’ Chris Wallace, left: ‘I think it would make all the difference in the world
Fauci on Sunday underscored his call for officials around the United States not to lift restrictions prematurely and risk a spike in COVID-19 cases. Some states such as Texas have lifted mask-wearing and other restrictions.
An uptick in cases can be avoided if Americans continue to get vaccinated ‘without all of a sudden pulling back on public health measures,’ Fauci told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ program.
‘We will gradually be able to pull them (restrictions) back. And if things go as we planned, just as the president said, by the time we get into the early summer, the Fourth of July weekend, we really will have a considerable degree of normality.
‘But we don’t want to let that escape from our grasp by being too precipitous in pulling back,’ Fauci added.
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.
Almost half of men who identify as Republicans say they will not get the COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to them and nor will almost half of Donald Trump supporters, according to a poll released by PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll Thursday (above)
A poll, released by PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll last Thursday, surveyed 1,227 US adults from March 3 to March 8 about their views on taking one of the three vaccines approved by the federal government.
It uncovered stark differences in opinion depending on political beliefs with 49 percent of Republican men saying they would not be taking the shot.
More than a third (34 percent) of Republican women also said they will not get vaccinated, compared to just 14 percent of Democrat women.
Overall, around two-fifths (41 percent) of Republicans said they will not get the vaccine, while 24 percent said they have already been administered it and 3 percent were unsure.
By contrast, almost two-third of Democrats (58 percent) said they will take the vaccine when they are eligible, with 29 percent having already had it, and 2 percent unsure.
Just 11 percent of Democrat supporters said they would not take the vaccine.
The survey shows an ongoing distrust in the COVID-19 vaccine among a large proportion of the US population as Joe Biden announced this week all Americans will be eligible for vaccination no later than May 1.
The poll also found a high amount of opposition among Trump supporters, with 47 percent saying they will not get the vaccine compared to just 10 percent of Biden supporters who said the same.
Survey respondents were also asked about their views of how Biden has handled the pandemic since taking office.
Overall, 62 percent said they approved and 30 percent disapproved.
Unsurprisingly, the approval rating fell to 30 percent among Republicans and 22 percent among Trump supporters.
Aside from political belief as a factor, ethnic minority groups have long been more skeptical about getting the vaccine.
The new poll showed 37 percent of Latinos do not plan to get vaccinated, compared to 25 percent of black people and 28 percent of white people.
Overall, 30 percent of all adults surveyed said they will not get the vaccine.
A total of 68 percent have either had the vaccine already or said they will get it while 3 percent are unsure.
Fauci has previously said 75 to 85 percent of the population must be vaccinated for the US to reach herd immunity.
Based on the poll’s findings, this target is some way off.
Dr. Vin Gupta told CNBC this week if Americans don’t get the shot and lead to herd immunity, the pandemic will likely continue for some time.
‘All forecasts right now say that we’re going to be past the worst of this with normalcy by say end of June, early July,’ he said.
Joe Biden receives his first dose of the coronavirus vaccine in Delaware in December on television
Mike Pence receives the COVID-19 vaccine in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington, DC, on December 18
‘That, however, is contingent on people actually getting the vaccine to the tune of 75 percent to 80 percent of eligible adults by that time period.
‘If that’s not the case – if there’s skepticism or hesitancy that high – we’re not going to get there.’
Many Americans have voiced concerns about the vaccine, particularly the speed with which it was developed.
However medical experts are assuring the public it is safe and urging people to get vaccinated when it is their turn.
Despite the skepticism, a separate poll this week found most Americans believe people should be vaccinated before returning to returning to normal life.
The survey by Reuters/Ipsos, of 1,005 US adults aged 18 and older on Monday and Tuesday, found six in 10 Americans want to work for an employer who requires everyone be immunized against coronavirus vaccine before returning to the office.
Trump quietly received the vaccine at the White House back in January
Seventy-two percent of Americans said it was important to know ‘if the people around me have been vaccinated,’ with 60 percent saying they wanted to work for an employer ‘who requires everyone to get a coronavirus vaccine before returning to the office’ and 56 percent thought unvaccinated workers should stay home.
A majority, 62 percent, also said unvaccinated people should not be allowed to travel on airplanes.
Fifty-five percent agreed that unvaccinated people should not work out at public gyms, enter movie theaters or attend public concerts.
Dr Amesh Adalja, a senior scholar with the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, said the poll responses made sense, given the social restrictions placed on everyone over the past year.
‘People are saying: ‘If I’m vaccinated, it’s going to change my life,” Adalja said.
‘And if you’re not vaccinated, that’s your choice. But you’re going to be in a different status because you might be a carrier of this virus, so you could spread it to another unvaccinated person.’
The poll’s results suggest the pace of vaccinations may pick up as more vaccines become available and more people want them.
A new poll found 60% of Americans want to work for an employer ‘who requires everyone to get a coronavirus vaccine before returning to the office
Surveyors also found that 62% don’t believe unvaccinated people should be allowed to travel on airplanes
This survey found that, altogether 54 percent of respondents said they were ‘very interested’ in getting vaccinated.
That was up from a January survey, when 41 percent expressed the same level of interest, and 38 percent in a May 2020 poll before a vaccine was even developed.
It also found disparities along party lines, with about 69 percent of Democrats very interested in getting a COVID-19 shot compared to 45 percent of Republicans.
Republicans, who have been generally less concerned than others over the past year about the coronavirus, were also generally less supportive than Democrats of workplace and lifestyle restrictions for the unvaccinated, according to the poll.
Yet even among Republicans, four out of 10 said they supported keeping people without vaccines from going to gyms or movie theaters.
Five in 10 Republicans think vaccines should be required for airline travel.
Twenty-seven percent of Americans said they were not interested in getting vaccinated, which was relatively unchanged from a similar poll that ran in May.
Interest in the vaccine increased over the past year among whites and racial minorities, with about six in 10 whites and five in 10 members of minority groups now expressing a high level of interest.