Former President Donald Trump was booed by some of his followers when he admitted he’d gotten the COVID-19 vaccine booster shot.
Trump made the comments while on stage Sunday with right-wing TV personality Bill O'Reilly at the American Airlines Center in Dallas during the final leg of their cross-country speaking tour.
At one point in the evening, Trump told the crowd he was responsible for saving millions of lives because the vaccines were developed while he was in office. He told the crowd that by denying vaccines work, they were “playing into their hands”—but he didn’t specify who "they" were.
The followers went quiet while he spoke fondly of vaccines, but they cheered loudly after Trump declared that vaccine mandates were wrong.
Things went south immediately afterwards, though, when O'Reilly said, “Both the president and I are vaxxed” and then asked if Trump got the booster.
“Yes,” Trump responded, which got some people in the crowd booing.
“Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,’” Trump said in response to the booing and then pointed dismissively to a portion of the crowd. “There’s a very tiny group over there.”
Some of the most virulent and dedicated anti-vaxxers are die-hard supporters of Trump likely decided to oppose the vaccine because of their time in the pro-Trump ecosystem. In this world, COVID-19 conspiracies are still popular, partly thanks to pro-Trump media figures routinely pushing misinformation about the dangers and effectiveness of vaccines.
The world is bracing for a fifth wave and hospitalizations are on the rise in the United States. Cases of the new Omicron variant are currently doubling globally every 1.5 to three days, and that may only increase as people travel and gather for the holidays. The vaccinated, and especially those who have gotten the booster, are statistically far less likely to be hospitalized if infected with COVID-19.
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