Story at a glance
- Former President Trump’s HHS head Alex Azar criticized the 45th president Tuesday, saying Trump could have salvaged trust in COVID-19 vaccines had the president chosen to get vaccinated publicly.
- Azar, who oversaw Operation Warp Speed, challenged conservatives and Republicans to tout COVID-19 vaccines as one of the former president’s defining achievements.
- Azar wrote that he fully supports the Biden administration’s push to vaccinate all eligible Americans.
Former President Trump’s head of Health and Human Services Alex Azar criticized the 45th president Tuesday, saying Trump could have salvaged trust in COVID-19 vaccines had the president chosen to get vaccinated publicly.
“I’m glad former President Trump got vaccinated, but it would have been even better for him to have done so on national television so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has in what is arguably one of his greatest accomplishments,” Azar wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times.
Azar, who oversaw Operation Warp Speed, challenged conservatives and Republicans to tout COVID-19 vaccines as one of the former president’s defining achievements and called “upon all party leaders and conservatives to double down on encouraging vaccination.”
Polling shows continued hesitancy among the nation’s unvaccinated population. An Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research poll in July found that among unvaccinated Americans, 45 percent said they will never get a shot.
Currently, 70 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one shot of a coronavirus vaccine — which was President Biden’s original goal to achieve by July 4.
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Azar argued that the health officials in the former administration worked to preemptively combat vaccine hesitancy, although he writes he did not foresee the politicization that lay ahead, “leading many Republicans to hold back.”
The former HHS chief called on leaders and health care professionals in both parties to unite and “depoliticize” the controversy.
“Conservatives need to do our part, and the Biden administration must find voices that will be trusted in conservative communities to explain the data and integrity of the vaccine programs,” Azar wrote.
“In seeking to end this pandemic, the Biden administration is exhorting all unvaccinated adults in our country to get their shots, and I fully support it in this call,” Azar continued. “It would be tragic to see more lives needlessly lost when we are so close to beating this virus once and for all.”
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