A recent poll found that about half of Republican men don’t plan to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

A leading American expert on infectious diseases, Dr. Anthony Fauci, on Sunday expressed hope that former President Donald Trump will encourage his supporters to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fauci also stressed that the pandemic-related restrictions should not be lifted prematurely.

A recent joint poll by PBS, NPR radio, and the Marist poll service found that about half of American men who identified themselves as Republicans said they had no plans to get vaccinated.

When Fauci was asked if Trump should address his supporters directly, given the poll data, he said, “I hope so because these are alarming numbers.”

“When such a large proportion of a certain group of people do not want to be vaccinated solely for political reasons, it is completely meaningless, “Fauci said.

Other living former US presidents – Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter – will appear in two public announcements on coronavirus vaccines, along with their spouses. Trump will not be in these ads.

To understand that vaccination is necessary, “it is not necessary to be very smart,” Fauci said, naming some diseases that were eliminated thanks to vaccines, in particular, smallpox.

“What’s the problem? This is a vaccine that will save the lives of millions of people,” he said.

Fauci heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and is an adviser to President Joe Biden.

At the beginning of the pandemic, Trump appeared at briefings on the coronavirus and Fauci but later criticized him. In October, a few weeks after being hospitalized for COVID-19, Trump said, “Fauci is a disaster… People are tired of listening to Fauci and all these idiots.”

As president, Trump minimized the need for restrictions on the coronavirus, including wearing masks, and predicted that the pathogen would disappear “as if by magic.”

Fauci on Sunday urged officials in the United States not to lift the restrictions prematurely. Some states, such as Texas, have abolished the wearing of masks and other restrictions.

The increase in the disease rate can be avoided if Americans continue to be vaccinated “without suddenly abandoning public health measures, “Fauci said, speaking on CNN.

“We will gradually lift these restrictions. If everything goes as we plan, then, as the president said, by the beginning of the summer, by Independence Day on July 4, we will largely return to normal. But we do not want this prospect to escape us because of excessive haste in lifting the restrictions,” he added.