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Donald Trump on Tuesday evening said he was ‘very appreciative’ of President Joe Biden paying tribute to his administration’s efforts to create the vaccine – adding that he was ‘surprised to hear it.’

Biden several hours prior had commended his predecessor for leading efforts to make the U.S. one of the first countries in the world to get a vaccine against COVID-19.

‘Thanks to the prior administration and our scientific community, America is one of the first countries to get the vaccine,’ Biden said Tuesday afternoon. 

‘Thanks to my administration and the hard work of Americans, we led a rollout that made America among the world leaders in getting shots in arms,’ the president added.

Trump, who has frequently complained about not getting enough credit for his decisions in pushing the vaccine manufacture, said he was pleasantly surprised by the president’s words.

‘I’m very appreciative of that – I was surprised to hear it,’ Trump told Fox News Digital.  

The comment comes as the U.S. sees a surge in COVID cases, with some states seeing unprecedented numbers of new cases since the pandemic began – and as the highly transmissible Omicron variant continues to spread across the nation.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data this week showing that Omicron now accounts for 73 percent of U.S. Covid cases. The prevalence of the variant has jumped six fold week-over-week, from 2.9 percent to 12.6 percent, and has overtaken the Delta variant, which had been the nation’s dominant strain since July. 

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