Dr. Anthony Fauci said he was “stunned” at footage of Donald Trump being booed by some of the former president’s supporters after he revealed that he had received a COVID-19 booster shot.
“I mean, given the fact of how popular he is with that group, that they would boo him, which tells me how recalcitrant they are about being told what they should do,” the NIAID director said in an interview on ABC’s “This Week.”
Trump had been asked by former Fox News pundit Bill O’Reilly whether he had received the booster during an interview in Dallas as part of Trump’s speaking tour, upon which he was jeered by some sections of the crowd.
Trump had downplayed the seriousness of the pandemic during the 2020 presidential campaign, opposing containment measures like masks and business closures in his final year as president. But recently, he has voiced his support of the vaccine, doubling down in a later interview with conservative podcast host Candace Owens this past week.
“Oh no, the vaccines work, but some people aren’t the ones. The ones who get very sick and go to the hospital are the ones that don’t take the vaccine. But it’s still their choice. And if you take the vaccine, you’re protected,” he said.
Fauci told “This Week” that vaccines and boosters will be necessary to prevent hospitalizations from surging along with daily new cases as the more infectious Omicron variant sweeps across the U.S.. Though early studies have shown that the Omicron variant may be a less severe version of the virus, Fauci says that this is no reason for the public to “get complacent” as the case rate nationwide is expected to skyrocket over the next few weeks.
“If you have many, many, many more people with a less level of severity, that might kind of neutralize the positive effect of having less severity when you have so many more people,” he said. “And we’re particularly worried about those who are in that unvaccinated class … those are the most vulnerable ones when you have a virus that is extraordinarily effective in getting to people.”