Trump’s Health Secretary Calls on Republicans to Encourage Vaccinations
Health Care

Trump’s Health Secretary Calls on Republicans to Encourage Vaccinations


Alex Azar, the former secretary of Health and Human Services under President Trump, is calling for Republicans to embrace and encourage Covid-19 vaccinations. In a piece for The New York Times Tuesday, Azar touts his role, and the Trump administration’s, in developing the vaccines and emphasizes that the shots are safe and effective.

Azar also details some areas where he says officials could have done better, suggesting that they could have done more to address vaccine hesitancy and to explain that the Food and Drug Administration’s emergency use authorization means that the vaccines were held “to such high standards that the only real difference is that full approval requires steps like analyzing longer-term safety and efficacy data, and inspecting manufacturing facilities.”

Azar also laments that they “did not predict the politicization of vaccines that has led so many Republicans to hold back” — politicization that, critics would surely note, was simply an extension of Trump’s approach to the pandemic. Azar doesn’t admit that, but he hints at it: “I’m glad former President Trump got vaccinated, but it would have been even better for him to have done so on national television so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has in what is arguably one of his greatest accomplishments.”

Azar writes that it’s time for conservatives to step up — and claim the vaccines as part of Trump’s legacy while they’re at it. “The vaccines could be a victory lap for the Republican Party, and I call upon all party leaders and conservatives to double down on encouraging vaccination,” he writes. “Conservatives need to do our part, and the Biden administration must find voices that will be trusted in conservative communities to explain the data and integrity of the vaccine programs. They would also do well to continue to acknowledge the historic achievement of the Trump administration in expediting these vaccines. I’m not naïve about the partisan issues and the mistrust between parties at play — but a measure of political graciousness could go a long way to depoliticize the issue.”

Read the full piece at The New York Times.