Former President Donald J. Trump, who for years falsely claimed vaccines were dangerous and pointedly declined to be seen getting vaccinated against Covid-19 while in office, was booed at an event in Houston after saying publicly for the first time that he had received a booster shot.
Mr. Trump was in Texas on Sunday as part of a speaking tour with Bill O’Reilly, the author and former Fox News host, when Mr. O’Reilly said that both he and Mr. Trump “are vaxxed.”
Mr. O’Reilly then asked, “Did you get the booster?”
“Yes,” Mr. Trump said.
“I got it too,” Mr. O’Reilly said.
The crowd in Houston began to boo, according to a video distributed by one of Mr. O’Reilly’s social media accounts.
“Don’t, don’t, don’t, don’t,” Mr. Trump said, waving his arm to dismiss the naysayers and downplaying the size of the reaction by pointing to what he said was “a very tiny group over there.”
The exchange comes as the rapidly spreading Omicron variant has fueled a sharp rise in new cases and hospitalizations, with several states mobilizing the National Guard to help with hospital staffing shortages. Omicron is now the dominant version of new coronavirus cases in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccinated people without booster shots are believed to be more vulnerable to infection by Omicron, and government officials nationwide say boosters are the best response to the new variant.
Just before the booing, Mr. Trump said that his supporters should get vaccinated because, he suggested, unwillingness to do so represented a victory for liberals. “What we’ve done is historic,” he said of the three Covid vaccines in use in the United States that were developed while he was in office. “Don’t let them take away, don’t take it away from ourselves. You’re playing right into their hands when you sort of like, ‘oh, the vaccine.’”
He then reiterated his opposition to vaccine mandates, which the Biden administration, localities across the country and many employers have embraced in order to boost vaccination rates. “You shouldn’t be forced to take it, no mandates. But take credit,” Mr. Trump said.