Former President Donald Trump again endorsed COVID-19 vaccines but said that people should not be forced to get them. His comments come at a time when several states and countries are pushing for vaccine passport-type systems.
“The vaccine is a great thing and people should take advantage of it,” Trump told the New York Post on Thursday, but qualified his remarks by saying, “Nobody should be forced” as Americans “have our freedoms.”
“But I strongly recommend it because it’s a real lifesaver,” the former President continued, noting that his administration pushed to develop vaccines against the CCP virus. “I’m all in favor of the vaccine,” Trump said. “It’s one of the great achievements, a true miracle.”
Trump said if Americans did not have access to a vaccine for the coronavirus, the death toll could be as bad as during the 1918 Spanish flu, which killed up to 100 million people globally.
Trump confirmed he got his first shot in January before leaving the White House and his second shot while in Florida.
“Not even a bit of arm soreness,” he said. “It’s pretty amazing stuff.”
Trump boasted that the quick development and deployment of the vaccine would help save lives around the world.
“We’re saving tens of millions of lives throughout the world,” he said. “We’re saving entire countries.”
Vaccine passport systems have come under scrutiny in recent days, with several Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Greg Abbott and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, issuing orders to block such systems from being implemented.
Lawmakers in some states have also passed bills that would ban vaccine passports. This week, Indiana’s state legislature passed legislation that would ban state and local governments from issuing CCP virus passports, meaning Indiana cannot force individuals to get the vaccine.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) in March also voiced concern about such proposals, saying that it could likely violate Americans’ privacy. The group noted that individuals who do not have a smartphone with an app saying they are vaccinated could be excluded from certain services.
No federal agency has mandated a vaccine passport-type system, although New York state recently introduced its “Excelsior” app that would allow individuals to enter sports arenas, events, and more if those facilities use it.