NIAID Director Anthony Fauci told “Fox News Sunday” that “it would make all the difference in the world” if former President Trump urged his supporters to take the coronavirus vaccine.

Why it matters: Republicans — particularly men in the party — are the least likely demographic to say they plan to get vaccinated against the virus, recent polls suggest.

By the numbers: 49% of Republican men surveyed in an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll conducted in early March indicated they would not get vaccinated, while 47% of those who supported Trump in 2020 said the same.

What he’s saying: Fauci said if Trump urged his supporters to take the vaccine, “I cannot imagine … that they would not get vaccinated.”

  • “If he came out and said, ‘go and get vaccinated, it’s really important for your health, the health of your family, and the health of the country,’ it seems absolutely inevitable that the vast majority of people who are his close followers would listen to him.”
  • “I’m very surprised that the high percentage of Republicans say they don’t want to get vaccinated. I don’t understand where that’s coming from. This is not a political issue. This is a public health issue.”

Flashback: Trump encouraged his supporters to get the coronavirus vaccine for the first time at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in late February, saying: “Everyone should go get your shot,” after noting the vaccine is “unpainful.”

Methodology: NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll of 1,227 adults from March 3-8 in English and Spanish via cell phones and landlines, margin of error ±3.4 percentage points.