Former President Donald Trump Wednesday said plans to give booster vaccinations sound to him like a "money-making operation" for vaccine-maker Pfizer.
"Think of the money involved," Trump told Fox Business's Maria Bartiromo during a phone interview on her program. "That's tens of billions of dollars. If you are a pure businessman, you say 'you know what, let's give them another shot. That is another $10 billion of money coming in. The whole thing is crazy."
His comments came before top health officials announced in a joint statement Wednesday that the United States will start distributing COVID-19 booster shots in September, with new data showing vaccine protection dips over time, and in response to the threat posed by the highly contagious delta variant of the virus, reports CNBC.
"We are starting to see evidence of reduced protection against mild and moderate disease," according to the statement, signed by CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky, acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci and other U.S. health leaders. "Based on our latest assessment, the current protection against severe disease, hospitalization, and death could diminish in the months ahead, especially among those who are at higher risk or were vaccinated during the earlier phases of the vaccination rollout."
Agencies are preparing to offer boosters beginning the week of Sept. 20. With Americans becoming eligible starting eight months after their second dose of either the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines. People who got the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine will also likely need boosters, the officials said, but more data is being sought before a formal recommendation is made.
Trump, before the anticipated announcement, said that when the vaccines first came out during his administration, "they were good for life. Then they were good for a year or two."
But, he told Bartiromo, he could "see the writing on the wall."
"I saw the dollar signs in the eyes of the guy that runs Pfizer, the guy that announced the day after the election that he had the vaccine," said Trump. "We know that. I know that. And the people know that."
Trump, though, said he's proud of his role of in the development of the COVID vaccines, because, without them, he thinks "we would have a Spanish Flu situation."
However, many people aren't wanting to get the vaccine now because they don't trust President Joe Biden, he said.
"You know, when I was president, you didn't have this problem with people not wanting to take it," Trump said. "They don't take it because they don't trust Biden and they don't trust the Biden administration. When I was president, you didn't have people protesting the vaccine. If you just think back everybody wanted to get it. We were giving out over a million shots a day we had that rocking."
He also said that because Biden is "doing a lousy job with coronavirus, coronavirus is back."
"I tell you when I left it was virtually gone, over," said Trump."Now it's coming back through the delta, and I don't know if you even want to call it that. All you call it is the China virus."
But if the numbers were bouncing back and he was still president, Trump said, "the press would decimate me."
He also slammed Biden for the pause that was put on the Johnson & Johnson vaccine earlier this year.
"As soon as they did that I said, what a bunch of fools," Trump said. "They put a pause on (for) no reason, and the people don't know Johnson & Johnson, and all they know a pause that needs a vaccine."
Trump added that he does recommend people get their shots, but he also believes "you have your freedom to do what you want to do."
"People that do get it get better much quicker," said Trump. "That's a very important thing to know ... Lindsey Graham is an example. He said if (he) didn't have this vaccine I would have died."
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