Dr. Anthony Fauci: Donald Trump's Supporters 'Would Listen' If He Urged Them to Get Vaccinated

Fauci said "it would really be a game changer" if Trump spoke up and encouraged his supporters to get a COVID-19 vaccine

Dr. Anthony Fauci Donald Trump
Dr. Anthony Fauci (left) and President Donald Trump. Photo: Alex Wong/Getty; Doug MIlls/The New York Times/Pool/Getty

Dr. Anthony Fauci is calling on Donald Trump to urge his supporters to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Fauci, 80, told Fox News Sunday that if Trump, 74, spoke out and told his supporters to go get a vaccine, that "it would really be a game changer" in the country's recovery.

COVID-19 has killed 534,476 people in the U.S. and infected 29.4 million, according to a New York Times tracker.

A PBS poll released last week showed that 49% of Republican men say they don't intend to get the vaccine.

Fauci said he's "very surprised" by that poll.

"I don't understand where that's coming from. This is not a political issue," the physician said. "I just don't get it."

coronavirus briefing
President Donald Trump looks on as Dr. Anthony Fauci addresses the media during a coronavirus task force briefing on April 10, 2020. Evan Vucci/AP/Shutterstock

Every other living former president has spoken out about the importance of getting vaccinated for COVID-19.

Last week, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton joined former First Ladies Michelle Obama, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton in a public service announcement promoting vaccinations.

Trump and former First Lady Melania Trump did not participate in the PSA. The Trumps did, however, privately get vaccinated in January at the White House and made no public mention of it.

"He's a very widely popular person among Republicans," Fauci said. "If he came out and said, 'Go and get vaccinated, it's really important for your health, the health of your family and the health of your country,' it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him."

"It would be very helpful to the effort for that to happen," added Fauci, the director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.

Fauci said even more Americans would seek out a vaccine if Trump encouraged them to do so.

"He's such a strongly popular person," Fauci said. "I cannot imagine that if he comes out that they would not get vaccinated."

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the CDC, WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a GoFundMe.org fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

Related Articles