Trump Confirms He Got a COVID Booster, Tells People Not to Downplay Vaccines — and Gets Booed

The former president also told the audience: "If you don't want to take it, you shouldn't be forced to take it. No mandates"

Donald Trump Covid
Donald Trump. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty

A crowd of Donald Trump's supporters who paid to attend one of his recent tour appearances booed when the former president said he got the COVID-19 booster shot — and added that the vaccines were "great" and "historic."

"Look, we did something that was historic. We saved tens of millions of lives worldwide. We, together, all of us, not me," Trump, 75, said in a weekend appearance at his and Bill O'Reilly's joint "History Tour," footage of which was shared on Twitter by O'Reilly's No Spin News.

Trump's comments referenced his administration's "Operation Warp Speed," a public-private partnership that supported multiple COVID-19 vaccine candidates to speed up their creation.

"This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now. Take credit for it," Trump told O'Reilly in his appearance this weekend, adding that the rapid speed at which effective vaccines were developed was "historic."

"It's great. ... Don't let them take it away," Trump said.

Those who doubt or criticize the vaccines, he said, are not thinking like him: "You're playing right into their hands when you sort of, like, 'Oh, the vaccine.' "

Trump, who an adviser has said got his first COVID vaccine while he was still in office after he had been hospitalized with the virus, then told the audience: "If you don't want to take it, you shouldn't be forced to take it. No mandates."

O'Reilly had noted that he and the president were both vaccinated, asking Trump if he had received a booster shot.

"Both the president and I are both vaxxed — did you get the booster?" O'Reilly asked.

"Yes," Trump said.

"I got it, too," O'Reilly said.

A portion of the crowd then began to boo the former president, who responded: "Don't, don't, don't, don't, don't. No, no— That's all right. It's a very tiny group up there."

While Trump has a history of touting vaccines and encouraging vaccinations — in particular because of his administration's focus on developing them in 2020 — he has at times also downplayed the pandemic and openly questioned the effectiveness of other preventative steps like wearing face coverings.

Despite widespread public health consensus about the safety and effectiveness of vaccines, receiving the shots has become increasingly politicized, mostly by conservatives. Trump was previously booed at a rally in August after recommending the vaccines. (Trump's spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment about the reaction to his appearance this weekend.)

The Biden administration, which is continuing to encourage mass vaccinations, touted Trump's latest remarks.

"Be like President Trump, and get your booster shot," a spokesman for the Department of Health and Human Services tweeted on Monday.

The introduction of the coronavirus vaccines has saved countless lives — and also highlighted a serious political divide in the U.S., where a recent tabulations show that only 60 percent of Republican adults have gotten one shot of the vaccine (compared with roughly 86 percent of Democratic voters), The New York Times reports.

That same research found that 25 of every 100,000 residents in counties that voted for Trump died of the virus in October, compared with 7.8 per 100,000 in counties that voted overwhelmingly for Democrat Joe Biden.

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