Former President Donald Trump is justifiably proud of his administration’s ability to produce a covid-19 vaccine in just nine months during 2020. But he found out once again this past weekend that some of his most ardent supporters still don’t want to hear about it.
Trump, according to the Mediaite website, was on stage Sunday at a Dallas gathering with former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly when both men confirmed they have received two coronavirus vaccines plus a booster shot more recently.
The news prompted a few boos from the audience, but the people who believe in and support the former president needed to hear that.
In fact, just a few moments before the two men discussed their vaccinations, Trump presented an eloquent rationale for taking the shots.
“We did something that was historic. We saved tens of millions of lives worldwide — we together, all of us,” Trump said. “We got a vaccine done in less than nine months. It was supposed to take from five to 12 years. Because of that vaccine, millions and millions of people — I think this would have been like the Spanish flu of 1917 where up to 100 million people died. This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now.”
The former president didn’t say so directly, but when he said the vaccine saved millions of lives, he was telling his listeners they should follow his lead and get inoculated. It was somewhat of a surprise that he’s received three shots, since he contracted the virus last year before the election and thus could have claimed that natural immunity from the infection was enough protection for him.
Trump also noted that when people doubt the safety or effectiveness of the vaccines, they are playing right into the hands of their political opponents. That was another good point: The longer the virus continues to spin around the country like a perpetual hurricane, the more likely it is to harm the economy and boost the arguments in favor of mandatory vaccines.
Trump’s comments are notable because of the arrival of the omicron variant of covid-19 — just in time for Christmas. It is a bitter holiday reminder that, nearly two years into this pandemic that has killed 806,000 Americans, the world still does not have a handle on it.
Studies are under way to see how effective the existing vaccines and booster shots are against the new variant. The number of infections is expected to increase rapidly as omicron spreads across the nation.
Trump ought to turn up the volume on his administration’s success in producing a vaccine more rapidly than anyone thought possible. He ought to use his post-presidential megaphone to encourage his fans to protect themselves the way he has — by getting vaccinated. He could make a difference. He could save lives.
In truth, the likelihood of a Mississippi resident dying from the virus is incredibly small. So far, covid-19 has killed only one-third of 1% of the state’s population, which is one out of every 300 people. Those are great odds — unless it happens to you. Why take the chance?
— Jack Ryan, McComb Enterprise-Journal