Former President Donald Trump actually publicly urged people to get vaccinated last month, but maybe he should come out and say it again: A new poll found lots of Republicans who say they won’t get inoculated trust him more than they trust the CDC.
Roughly a quarter of Americans say they won’t receive inoculation against the coronavirus, according to an Economist/YouGov poll released Friday, and nearly half of those people say they trust medical advice from Trump at least somewhat. Among those not planning to be vaccinated, 21 percent say they trust advice from the CDC and 13 percent say they trust medical advice from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the longtime head of the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been a face of the federal response to COVID since the beginning of the pandemic.
Among GOP vaccine skeptics, the contrast was even more stark, according to an analysis by the Washington Post: Nearly three-quarters of Republicans not planning to get vaccinated say they trust Trump’s medical advice at least somewhat, while under a quarter trust the CDC said they trust the CDC at least somewhat.
The survey of 1,500 U.S. adults was taken between April 3 and April 6.
The numbers for trust in the medical opinions of Fauci and President Joe Biden are, unsurprisingly, even lower, according to the Post.
The poll found that 27 percent of respondents planned to get vaccinated, while 33 percent of those who’d been surveyed have already been vaccinated. Just under 90 percent of Biden voters either had already been vaccinated or plan on it, while fewer than half of Trump voters said the same, the poll showed.
To some extent, the results reflect the latest battle of the culture war. Several states with Republican governors have passed laws or signed executive orders in recent weeks banning the use of “vaccine passports,” a largely hypothetical form of documentation showing you’ve been inoculated against the virus. During his presidency, Trump also repeatedly downplayed the virus which, to date, has killed more than 561,000 Americans.
But Trump’s legacy as president is tied to the Operation Warp Speed program to develop COVID-19 vaccines, and in an interview with Fox News last month, he reiterated that the vaccines were “safe” and “something that works.” Trump, who was hospitalized with COVID-19 in October, was quietly vaccinated along with former First Lady Melania Trump prior to leaving office, the New York Times reported last month.
“I would recommend it,” Trump told Fox News last month. “And I would recommend it to a lot of people that don't want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me, frankly.
“But again,” he added, “We have our freedoms and we have to live by that and I agree with that also.”