Former President Donald Trump defended the efficacy of the coronavirus vaccines when pushed by conservative pundit Candace Owens.
Trump, who was booed by a friendly crowd earlier this week when he revealed he received a booster shot, emphasized that the vaccines were partially his achievements through his administration's spearheading of Operation Warp Speed in 2020.
"Forget about the mandates. People have to have their freedom, but at the same time, the vaccine is one of the greatest achievements of mankind," Trump told Owens on the Wednesday episode of her Daily Wire podcast. "I came up with a vaccine, with three vaccines. All are very, very good. Came up with three of them in less than nine months. It was supposed to take five to 12 years."
TRUMP REVEALS HE RECEIVED COVID-19 BOOSTER SHOT
When Owens brought up that more people have died in 2021 when the vaccines were available than in 2020 when they were not, Trump responded, "The vaccines work."
"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, adding, “People aren't dying when they take the vaccine.”
The conversation then drifted to masking children, which Trump said he is firmly against.
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Ever since the detection of the omicron variant in South Africa, case numbers have been rising. The new strain is believed to be highly transmissible but less deadly than other variants, with only one death in the United States attributed to omicron. The man, a Texas resident in his 50s, was unvaccinated.
The U.S. has seen more than 51 million cases of COVID-19, with 807,397 deaths attributed to the virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 204.8 million people are fully vaccinated against the virus, the government agency said.