It is not immediately clear why the vaccination was kept secret. Other top officials and leaders, from both major political parties, including former Vice President Mike Pence, received their COVID-19 vaccine shots in front of reporters and cameras.
There has been widespread hesitancy to get the vaccine, polls show, and the public vaccinations were done to help assuage fears and instill confidence in the vaccines’ safety.
Polls indicate those who identify as Republican are less likely than Democrats or Independents to say they want to get a COVID-19 vaccine. A recent poll at the end of February showed that while hesitancy rates among Democrats were dropping, more than 55% of those who identify as Republicans said they definitely will not or are unsure if they will get the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Trumps received the vaccine in early January on the advice of doctors, according to sources to USA Today.
Donald, Melania and Baron Trump all tested positive for COVID-19 last fall. The former president was hospitalized briefly at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he received a monoclonal antibodies treatment. The treatment reportedly gives benefits for protection for several weeks, according to doctors.
Questions about Trump’s vaccine status came up after comments he made Sunday during the Conservative Political Action Conference. He called the shot “unpainful.”
“We took care of a lot of people. Including, I guess on December 21st, we took care of Joe Biden, because he got his shot," Trump told the crowd. "He got his vaccine ... So everybody go get your shot."
It was some of the most direct language Trump has used encouraging people to get the vaccine.