Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all said they are willing to take the new coronavirus vaccine when available, possibly even doing so on TV to show that the vaccine is safe.
Obama said on an episode of SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” airing Thursday that he will take a COVID-19 vaccine whenever it becomes available to him.
“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” Obama said in audio that was released on YouTube. “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science. What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
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Bush’s chief of staff on Wednesday confirmed to CNN that the former president reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, and Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, to inquire about promoting COVID-19 vaccines.
“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,” Freddy Ford told CNN. “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.”
Additionally, Clinton’s press secretary told CNN that the former president would also be willing to receive a coronavirus vaccine publicly in order to promote it.
“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,” Angel Urena said.
A COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is expected to be approved for use in the U.S. this month, with doses being shipped to states in the coming weeks. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention decided earlier this week that high-risk health care workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be the first to receive vaccines.