Trump: 100 million people would have died without the vaccine

Trump says his administration's 'Operation Warp Speed' to produce COVID vaccine saved tens of millions - but adds vaccines must be voluntary

David Rosenberg ,

President Trump
President Trump

Former President Donald Trump credited COVID vaccines with saving upwards of a million lives, arguing that his administration’s efforts to rapidly roll out the vaccines was largely responsible for the diminished death toll.

Speaking with Fox News in an interview aired Saturday night, the former president suggested that the COVID pandemic could have become as lethal as the Spanish Flu over a century ago, but was contained as a result of ‘Operation Warp Speed’, the Trump administration’s project to fast-track coronavirus vaccines.

“I think if we didn’t come up during the Trump administration with the vaccine, you could have 100 million people dead, just like you had in 1917,” Trump said.

“You take the Spanish Flu, 100 million people, up to 100 million people, died. I think we’d be in that territory.”

An estimated 4.3 million people have died worldwide thus far in the COVID pandemic, including over 600,000 Americans.

During the first quarter of 2021, hundreds of millions of doses of COVID vaccines were distributed around the world, with the rate of vaccination accelerating in the second quarter.

Nearly 4.5 billion people, or some 58% of the world’s total population, have been vaccinated, according to The New York Times tracker.

During Saturday night’s interview, Trump also emphasized the importance of personal choice with regard to vaccination, pushing back against the idea of vaccine mandates.

“I really believe in somebody’s choice, somebody’s freedom. I’m a big fan of our freedoms, and people have to make that choice for themselves.”

Trump called for the reopening of schools with in-person learning this fall, including for college students.

“The schools have to open. These young people are losing a big part of their life and they’re not going to recover from it,” Trump said. “What they’re going through socially, I mean, they are not dealing with people. … It’s going to leave a scar on their lives. It’s going to leave a psychological scar.”