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Presidents Obama, Bush, Clinton consider taking COVID vaccine on camera for world to see

A needle use to vaccinate patients at Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Calif. (Carline Jean/Sun Sentinel/TNS)
December 03, 2020

In an effort to build confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton said they will receive the vaccine when it is available and are each considering filming it.

“I will be taking it, and I may take it on TV or have it filmed so people know that I trust this science,” Obama told SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show,” CNBC reported. “What I don’t trust is getting Covid.”

Freddy Ford, an aide to George W. Bush, told NBC News that the former president is happy to take the vaccine on camera if it will help increase public confidence in its safety.

“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,” Ford said.

A spokesperson for Bill Clinton also said in a statement that the 42nd president “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.”

While over half of Americans said they would get a COVID-19 vaccine, a recent Gallup poll showed that 42 percent of U.S. adults said they would not get vaccinated for the coronavirus, indicating significant challenges in the future as public health and government officials work toward rolling out the vaccine.

According to Gallup, 37 percent of Americans who indicated they would not get a vaccine cited the rushed development as the key reason. Twenty-six percent said they will wait at least until the vaccine is deemed safe, while 12 percent said they don’t trust vaccines at all and 10 percent want to wait until the effectiveness of the vaccine is clear.

Obama urged Americans most at risk to get a vaccine, adding that he would take it if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the United States top infectious disease expert, confirmed it was safe.

“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,” Obama said.

In late November, Moderna and Pfizer asked for emergency clearances from the FDA. The request reviews are expected to take several weeks, but states are anticipating distribution of the first vaccinations will begin as soon as mid-December, CNBC reported.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention panel voted 13-1 on Tuesday to allow health-care workers and long-term care facility residents to receive the first vaccine doses.