Former President Donald Trump has hailed his successor’s acknowledgment of his administration’s COVID-19 vaccine program, saying the move would help the “process of healing” in the United States.

In Tuesday’s announcement on his strategy to fight the COVID-19 pandemic amid a surge of Omicron variant infections, Biden said his administration would boost testing capacity and expand access to vaccines and support for hospitals across the country, Fox News reported.

The new strategy comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that the new coronavirus variant had become the dominant strain in the United States, making up 73.2% of new infections in the week ending Dec.18.

“Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine,” Biden said in the speech on Tuesday.

“Thanks to my administration, the hard work of Americans, we let, our roll-out, made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms,” he added.

Biden might be referring to Operation Warp Speed, a public-private partnership created under the Trump administration to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. With the program, the Food and Drug Administration approved emergency use authorizations for the Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna COVID-19 vaccines. 

In his response, Trump said that he was “surprised” but appreciated that Biden thanked his administration’s efforts in making vaccines available to the public.

“I’m very appreciative of that—I was surprised to hear it,” Trump told in an interview with Fox News.

“I think it was a terrific thing, and I think it makes a lot of people happy,” Trump continued. “I think he did something very good. You know, it has to be a process of healing in this country, and that will help a lot.”

Regarding the roll-out of the COVID-19 vaccines, Trump said that “We should be really happy about it because we’ve all saved millions and millions of lives all over the world.”

The former president revealed that he received a vaccine booster. He said getting Americans vaccinated is “really a matter of tone” instead of mandates.

“You have to embrace it. You don’t have to do it, and there can’t be mandates and all those things, but you have to embrace it,” Trump said, referring to those still hesitant to receive the vaccine.

“It’s a matter of getting people out to, ideally, get the vaccine,” Trump said. “If you have the mandate, the mandate will destroy people’s lives—it destroys people’s lives, just as the vaccine saves people.”

“I think that it’s really a question of tone. It’s a question of trust, and hopefully, the people that have had COVID, hopefully they will be given credit for that,” he said.

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