Three former presidents will receive the coming coronavirus vaccine publicly, doing so on camera in an attempt to promote its safety and effectiveness.
Obama told SiriusXM’s Joe Madison that he will get the vaccine on camera “so that people know that I trust this science.”
“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” Obama said. “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.”
Bush’s chief of staff, Freddy Ford, told CNN that the former president reached out to both Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx to say he’s available to 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, adding, “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.”
And Angel Ureña, a spokesman for Bill Clinton, told USA TODAY that the former president will also receive the vaccine in “a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”
Obama cited Fauci as an endorsement that he’d respect.
“People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely,” Obama said. “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.”
High profile endorsements like these are important. Although a recent Economist/YouGov poll shows Americans who are willing to get a vaccine is on the rise, 50 percent still say they will not get vaccinated. And to reach herd immunity an estimated 70 percent of a population will have to achieve individual immunity, either through a vaccine or natural transmission.
The importance of an available vaccine is pressing. Just yesterday more than 3,100 people died from the coronavirus in America—a single-day record high that eclipses the number of people killed on 9/11.