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Fauci urges Trump to tell supporters to be vaccinated

The nation's top infectious disease expert warned Sunday that a new wave of COVID-19 infections could be on the way while urging former President TrumpDonald TrumpGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal GOP believes Democrats handing them winning 2022 campaign Former GOP operative installed as NSA top lawyer resigns MORE to tell his supporters to be vaccinated.

Speaking with Chris WallaceChristopher (Chris) WallaceSullivan: White House 'absolutely committed' to raising refugee cap McConnell seeks to end feud with Trump The Hill's 12:30 Report: Biden meets with bipartisan lawmakers for infrastructure negotiations MORE on "Fox News Sunday," Anthony FauciAnthony FauciWaters: Fauci 'was being bullied' by Jordan during hearing Whitmer: State won't close down again following GOP lawsuits Sunday shows - Fauci dominates with remarks on vaccines, boosters, masks and Jordan MORE pointed to surges across the European Union and warned that Europe's case trends tend to be a few weeks ahead of similar trends in the U.S.

Europe "always seem to be a few weeks ahead of us," Fauci said, adding that it was "absolutely no time to declare victory" over the virus.

"They thought they were home free, and they weren’t, and now they are seeing cases going up," he said of European health officials.

Asked by Wallace what could be done to combat vaccine skepticism in the U.S., particularly among Republicans, Fauci urged Trump to tell his supporters to get vaccinated.

"It would be very helpful for the effort for that to happen. I’m very surprised by the number of Republicans who say they won’t get vaccinated," he said.

"I think it would make all the difference in the world" if Trump were to express support for vaccines, Fauci said. "He’s a widely popular person among Republicans."

"I just don’t get it, Chris, why they don’t want to get vaccinated," he added.

During a separate appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press," Fauci said it's "disturbing" that Trump voters are choosing to not get vaccinated.

"We've got to dissociate political persuasion from commonsense, no-brainer public health things," he said.

"[Vaccines have] rescued us from smallpox, from polio, from measles," he added. "What is the problem here?"

His remarks come just days after a PBS poll found that nearly half of all Republican-aligned men said they would not get the COVID-19 vaccine, a result that has vexed health officials around the country seeking to drive down case rates.

More than 101 million doses of the vaccine have been administered in the U.S. so far, and in a national address last week, President BidenJoe BidenGraham: 'I could not disagree more' with Trump support of Afghanistan troop withdrawal Obama, Shaquille O'Neal, Charles Barkley team up to urge communities of color to get coronavirus vaccine Biden to hold second meeting with bipartisan lawmakers on infrastructure MORE pledged that all American adults would be eligible to receive the vaccine by May 1.

Updated at 10:26 a.m.