(ABC NEWS) – Former President Donald Trump has again publicly defended the COVID-19 vaccines and their efficacy, but decried mask and vaccine mandates, in an interview posted online on Tuesday.
His remarks run counter to vaccine opposition among many of his supporters and come just days after he was booed for telling a conservative audience he had gotten a booster shot.
The vaccine “was one of the greatest achievements; we did it in less than nine months,” Trump told conservative political commentator Candace Owens in an episode of her web series, which is hosted by the Daily Wire conservative news website.
“Some people aren’t taking it; the ones that 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,” Trump said.
He interjected those remarks after Owens claimed more people have died from COVID under President Joe Biden than under Trump and “more people took the vaccine this year.”
The COVID-19 vaccine was not widely available until early spring 2021, after Biden had already assumed the presidency, and many COVID-19 deaths were among unvaccinated individuals.
Other factors such as the end of masking and social distancing mandates in many local jurisdictions, as well as new variants of the virus, have contributed to COVID-19 deaths in 2021.
“Look; the results of the vaccine are very good. And if you do get [COVID-19 after vaccination], it’s a very minor form. People aren’t dying when they take the vaccine,” Trump said.