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Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who recently tested positive for COVID-19, told AP on Thursday that he's urged former President Trump "to be aggressive and say, 'Take the vaccine'" to increase vaccination rates.

The big picture: Some Republicans have pushed Trump, who was vaccinated in January, to become more vocal in pushing his supporters to get the vaccine.

  • Alex Azar, who served as Health and Human Services secretary under the Trump administration, wrote in an op-ed for the New York Times this week that he wished Trump would have gotten the vaccine on television "so that his supporters could see how much trust and confidence he has."
  • Trump said on Fox News in March that he would recommend the vaccine to "a lot of people that don’t want to get it, and a lot of those people voted for me," according to AP.
  • At a rally in Phoenix last month, however, Trump said he believes some people aren't getting the vaccine because they “don’t trust” President Biden and said it was people’s “freedoms 100%” to choose whether to get the shot, AP noted.

What he's saying: Graham, in his first interview since disclosing he tested positive for COVID-19, told AP on Thursday that Trump has checked on him every day.

  • Graham emphasized that he believes his symptoms would have been much worse if he had not gotten vaccinated.
  • Graham also said Trump was "very proud" of the vaccine and added that vaccinations are important to get the U.S. back on track.
  • "From a conservative person’s point of view, we should do all we can as a nation to get our economy back up and running and to protect our way of life," he added, urging Americans to "take the vaccine."

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Vaccines: Fauci: "I would vaccinate them in a second" — CDC says some immunocompromised people can get fourth COVID shot — FDA panel endorses Pfizer vaccines for 5-11 year olds.
  2. Health: COVID cases fall by 20% — Public health messaging lessons for the next pandemic — Common antidepressant guards against COVID hospitalization, study finds — COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought.
  3. Politics: NYC firefighters union urges members to defy mayor's vaccine mandate — Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate — Louisiana lifts mask mandate except for some schools.
  4. Education: Benefits of vaccine for children outweigh risks, FDA says — Education secretary reveals limits to Biden’s mask push on states — LA extends deadline for school employee vaccinations.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Oct 27, 2021 - Health

COVID cases, deaths at meat plants were far higher than previously thought

Tyson Foods in Portland, Maine, in 2020. Photo: Gregory Rec/Portland Press Herald via Getty Images

Cases and deaths from COVID-19 among workers at the five largest U.S. meatpacking companies were nearly three times higher than previously thought, according to a memo from the House panel probing the response to the pandemic.

Driving the news: At least 59,000 workers contracted COVID-19 and 269 workers died at Tyson Foods, JBS USA, Cargill, National Beef and Smithfield Foods — which together make up more than 80% of the beef market and 60% of the pork market in the U.S. — according to counts through January of this year.

Judge rejects Southwest pilots' challenge to vaccine mandate

A Southwest Airlines plane leaves the gate at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on Oct. 21. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

A judge ruled that Southwest Airlines can mandate its 9,000 pilots to be vaccinated against COVID-19, declining a union request for a restraining order on the policy, per AP.

Details: U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn said in her ruling against the Southwest Airlines Pilots Association on Tuesday that the airline was meeting its goal on air transportation safety and "providing 'safe and reasonable working conditions' for pilots, by preventing the spread of disease" with the requirement, the Dallas Morning News noted.