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DALLAS, Texas (LifeSiteNews) – Former President Donald Trump again took credit for the controversial COVID-19 vaccines this past weekend, revealing he personally received a booster shot and claiming the still-hesitant — many of whom are current or former Trump supporters — are “playing right into [the Left’s] hands.”

The remarks came during a Dallas stop on Sunday as part of Trump’s “History Tour” with pundit Bill O’Reilly.

But, look, we did something that was historic. We saved tens of millions of lives worldwide — we, together, all of us, not me, we — we got a vaccine done, three vaccines done, and tremendous therapeutics like Regeneron and other things that have saved a lot of lives. We got a vaccine done in less than nine months, it was supposed to take from five to 12 years. Because of that vaccine, because of that vaccine, millions and millions of people — I think this would have been the Spanish flu of 1917 where up to a hundred million people died. This was going to ravage the country far beyond what it is right now.

Take credit for it. Take credit for it, it’s a great — what we’ve done is historic. Don’t let them take away, don’t take it away from ourselves, you’re playing that — you’re playing right into their hands when you sort of like, ‘oh, the vaccine.’” If you don’t want to take it you shouldn’t be forced to take it, no mandates, but take credit, because we saved tens of millions of lives, tens of millions of lives. Take credit. Don’t let them take that away from you. Do you agree with that?

As the crowd cheered in the affirmative, O’Reilly asked the president if he had gotten a booster shot for his vaccination, to which Trump answered “yes.” O’Reilly revealed he had as well, but before he could continue speaking, a small smattering of boos could be heard among the crowd.

“Don’t, don’t, don’t, no, no,” Trump chided the dissenters, pointing to the side of the stage. “That’s all right, it’s a very tiny group over there.”

Trump, who contracted COVID himself in October 2020 yet still took the Pfizer vaccine the following January, has been overwhelmingly supportive of the vaccines, which were developed under his administration’s “Operation Warp Speed” initiative in a tenth of the time vaccine development usually takes and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine. 

With many of Trump’s conservative actions undone by President Joe Biden’s executive orders, his judicial appointments not ruling how conservatives hoped, and many of his 2016 campaign planks (such as a southern border wall and overhauled federal agencies) unfulfilled, the COVID vaccines are arguably Trump’s most enduring presidential legacy, giving him a significant investment in their being viewed positively. But they are also possibly the biggest source of division between Trump and many in his own base.

 

A body of data suggests that the mass vaccination strategy for defeating COVID-19 has failed. The federal government considers more than 204 million Americans (61% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet ABC News reported in October that more Americans died of COVID-19 this year (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000), according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

While there is some evidence the COVID vaccines can reduce the severity of COVID infections, it has also been theorized that their failure is partially due to misconceptions about recipients’ ability to still spread COVID, leading them to abandon pre-vaccine safety and hygiene practices, as well as their driving the mutation of virus variants by failing to stop transmission. 

Further, their long-term effects remain unknown, and significant concerns remain about their safety given a development period many consider to have been rushed. Vaccine defenders note that Operation Warp Speed was not starting from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of the initiative was conducting various aspects of the process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on their own — to just three months apiece.

While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Event Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” May reporting from NBC News quotes several mainstream experts acknowledging “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.

President Joe Biden specifically cited Trump’s comments Tuesday as part of his latest appeal for the COVID vaccines and his administration’s vaccine mandates, a name-drop that is certain to be a topic of discussion if Trump decides to seek the Republican presidential nomination again in 2024.

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