Adm. Brett Giroir, who served as former President Trump’s COVID-19 testing czar, on Monday said that Trump himself could play a key role in combating vaccine hesitation among his supporters.
Appearing on CNN, Giroir was asked whether Trump should actively encourage his supporters to get vaccinated amid recent polling that indicates opposition among Republicans.
Giroir replied that “of course the answer is yes” for both the former president and vice president to urge their supporters to get vaccinated against COVID-19, citing the development of vaccines as part of the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed.
Asked whether it was a mistake for Trump to privately get vaccinated in January prior to departing the White House instead of publicly encouraging his supporters to do the same, Giroir claimed that he was unaware of the then-President getting vaccinated at the time and did not find out until reports of Trump’s vaccination status surfaced weeks ago. Giroir added that he is hesitant to weigh in on any individual’s private medical decisions, but that Trump’s “leadership still matters a great deal.”
Additionally, Giroir commended the Biden administration for the country hitting record numbers of vaccinations, but added there is more outreach needed to address vaccine hesitancy among minority and underserved communities.
Although Trump finally urged Americans to get vaccinated during his remarks at CPAC last month, the former president refused to broadcast his vaccination experience on air — unlike former Vice President Mike Pence, President Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris.
The White House has expressed its concerns with vaccine hesitancy among Republicans, with some Republican governors also raising alarms over the partisan divide on vaccinations to combat the pandemic.
However, with the exception of Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House generally stopped short of suggesting that Trump step in to voice his encouragement of vaccinations.
President Biden, White House press secretary Jen Psaki and CDC director Rochelle Walensky on Monday said that “trusted messengers” in local communities, such as doctors, would be an effective means to spreading science-based messages on the safety and efficacy of COVID-19 vaccines.
Although Psaki made clear that the Biden administration wouldn’t stop Trump from being more vocal about encouraging vaccinations, the White House press secretary stressed that there are other effective means to address the partisan divide.