Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top US infectious disease expert, said on Sunday he hopes former President Donald Trump will push his supporters to get the COVID-19 vaccine and emphasized that pandemic-related restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.
"(Trump) is a very widely popular person among Republicans", Fauci said.
It's unclear, however, what impact Trump could have. Forty-nine percent of white men said they would not get vaccinated if it was available to them, and 47% of those who supported Trump in 2020 reported they would get the vaccine.
He didn't seem eager to hear from Trump, whom he recently dubbed the "former guy" and said he's "tired of talking" about him.
It was the first time he publicly encouraged Americans to do so.
In a PBS NewsHour/NPR/Marist poll released last week, about half of USA men who identified themselves as Republicans said they had no plans to get the vaccine. How some groups would not want to do it for reasons that I just don't understand. "I want a doctor, I want a nurse".
"Should President Trump help promote the vaccine amongst skeptics, sir?"
People wearing face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19, walk over a bridge in central Rome, Sunday, March 14, 2021.
But Trump has done less than his predecessors and political rivals to directly encourage supporters to get vaccinated. Trump's reluctance is ironic given his insistence on receiving credit for overseeing the rapid development of the COVID-19 vaccines, a landmark scientific accomplishment. "I hope everyone remembers!" We can avoid that if we continue to vaccinate people, get more and more protection without all of a sudden pulling back on public health measures.
In contrast, Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris each made a point of getting vaccinations on live television, to serve as role models for hesitant Americans.
Trump did not appear in a new public service campaign for the Covid-19 vaccine that included former Presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.
Concerns about vaccine hesitancy will become more pressing as the supply of doses catches up with demand. He has such an incredible influence over people in the Republican Party.
A recent USA opinion poll showed as many as 49% of Republican male supporters did not want to get vaccinated.
Fauci is the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and an adviser to Biden.
"We recognize as a Democratic administration with a Democratic president that we may not be the most effective messenger to communicate with hard core supporters of the former president, and we have to be clear eyed about that", Psaki said.