Former President Donald Trump, who received a Covid-19 vaccination before leaving the White House this year, said he is unlikely to receive the booster shot that U.S. health regulators are expected to approve in the coming months.
“I feel like I’m in good shape from that standpoint—I probably won’t,” Mr. Trump said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “I’ll look at stuff later on. I’m not against it, but it’s probably not for me.”
The Food and Drug Administration has already authorized the additional shot for certain people with weakened immune systems. The agency had been expected to greenlight an extra dose for all three Covid-19 shots administered in the U.S. starting in mid-September. The timetable may be pushed back as regulators need more time to review the data, at least for the Moderna Inc. and Johnson & Johnson shots.
The initial booster campaign, federal health officials have said, may include recommending shots for people over 65 because they are seen as more vulnerable than younger people. Mr. Trump is 75.
Mr. Trump’s reluctance comes as some Republican officeholders have spent much of the summer urging supporters to vaccinate themselves against the contagion.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell filmed a public service announcement last month in which he encouraged fellow Kentuckians to get the vaccine. The No. 2 Republican in the House, Steve Scalise of Louisiana, received his first dose in July.
The push has coincided with a surge of the Delta coronavirus variant across the country, which has taxed hospital systems and the medical profession. The rise in Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations has overwhelmingly affected unvaccinated Americans, which polls have shown are predominantly Republican voters.
About 19% of U.S. adults said they don’t intend to get vaccinated, according to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll taken Aug. 26-31. That was down 5 percentage points in a month in the same poll.
Among Republicans, 37% of respondents said they would continue to reject the vaccination. That compared with 5% of Democrats and 17% of independents who said they won’t get vaccinated.
The poll also showed strong support for a booster: 81% of fully vaccinated Americans said they would get a booster shot, while 19% said they weren’t sure. Nearly 62% of eligible Americans were fully vaccinated as of Friday.
Mr. Trump has encouraged his supporters to get the vaccination. He was briefly booed at a rally in Alabama last month after urging the audience to get the shot.
“I believe totally in your freedoms,” Mr. Trump said at the Cullman, Ala. rally, about 50 miles north of Birmingham. “You got to do what you have to do, but I recommend: Take the vaccines. I did it. It’s good.”
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