- Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton said they are willing to film their COVID-19 vaccinations to build public confidence in the shot’s safety and effectiveness.
- Obama said in an interview scheduled Thursday: “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
- Clinton’s press secretary told CNN he will take it publicly “if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”
- Bush has contacted Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, two of the US’ leading physicians, to see how he can encourage American to get vaccinated, his chief of staff said.
- Their comments come after polls suggest many Americans are wary about getting the COVID-19 vaccine.
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Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have all said they would be willing to receive their COVID-19 vaccines on camera to build public confidence in the shot.
They suggested that once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves a vaccine, filming their shots could help show the public that the vaccine was safe.
Their words follow polls that suggest many Americans are wary about getting the COVID-19 vaccine. A third of Americans say they wouldn’t take a coronavirus vaccine, according to an Ipsos MORI poll for the World Economic Forum published in August.
Former president Obama said Wednesday that once a vaccine is deemed safe by top US health experts, such as top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci, he will take it, and potentially have it filmed to encourage others to take it too.
In an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, which is scheduled to air Thursday, Obama said: “People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely.
“So, if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely, I’m going to take it.”
“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” he said.
“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
Obama also urged those most at risk to take the vaccine.
“If you are in that category, if you are elderly, if you’ve got a preexisting condition, if you’re a frontline worker, if you’re a medical worker, if you are in a grocery store, if you’re a first responder, you should take that vaccine,” he said.
Clinton’s press secretary Angel Urena told CNN Wednesday that the former president would also be willing to get vaccinated publicly to to promote confidence in the shot’s safety and effectiveness.
“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials. And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same,” Urena said.
Meanwhile, Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told CNN Thursday that the former president had been in touch with Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus task force, to find out if he could help promote the vaccine.
“A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” Ford said.
“First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations. Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera,” he said.
People of colour, who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19, seem to be less keen to have a vaccine, according to a Gallup poll published November 17.
The US has been the worst-hit nation in the world by COVID-19, recording more than 273,000 deaths and nearly 14 million infections, according to the New York Times COVID-19 tracker.
On Tuesday, the country hit a grim milestone of more than 100,000 current hospitalizations from the virus.
After a potential rise of infection numbers following Thanksgiving, the CDC has urged Americans not to travel for Christmas.