Donald Trump's affinity for the COVID vaccines

Former president Donald Trump restated his affinity for the coronavirus vaccines on Sunday during an event with former Fox News host Bill O’Reilly.

By expediting the development and distribution of the coronavirus vaccines, argued Trump, “we saved tens of millions of lives worldwide.”

“I think this would have been the Spanish Flu of 1917,” without the advent of the vaccines, said Trump, who also revealed that he had received a booster shot. While Trump has consistently touted the inoculations as an achievement of his administration, he had previously stated his opposition to boosters, calling them a “moneymaking operation for Pfizer.”

The former president chided those who have cast doubt on the vaccines’ safety and effectiveness, declaring that conservative skeptics are “playing right into” the hands of the Left by castigating the vaccines.

On the merits and the politics, Trump’s instincts are incontestably correct. Centers for Disease Control data show significantly reduced death rates among the vaccinated population. And these data likely underestimate the efficacy of the vaccines, since the vaccinated are both larger in number and include a larger proportion of at-risk groups. Transmission rates have not been reduced to the extent we had hoped, but that’s a function of the spread of variants, not an inherent problem with the inoculations.

Moreover, 72.5 percent of adults have been fully vaccinated against the disease. Most people believe the vaccines to be an extremely useful — if not foolproof — way to mitigate the consequences of Covid’s continued existence. Placing yourself on the other side of a 70–30 issue is never politically savvy, even if its a moral necessity. In this case, the political incentives align with the moral imperatives.

Conservatives, and Trump, are on the right side of so many of the Covid-created controversies of our day. Lockdowns impose immense economic and social harms on Americans while doing little to stamp out the virus in the long term. School closures pass the costs of the pandemic on to the most vulnerable among us. Vaccine mandates are an intolerable imposition on personal liberty. Masks are only helpful on the margins. These postures have already led to electoral success in places like Virginia.

It’s about time that some prominent voices on the right abandon their senseless, injurious vaccine skepticism, and learn to love the Trump vaccines.   

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