Obama, Bush, and Clinton volunteer to receive coronavirus vaccine publicly


Zach Gilbert

Obama, Bush, and Clinton have announced that they would be open to being inoculated on camera when COVID-19 vaccines are made available, if necessary. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

In an effort to boost public trust, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have volunteered to receive their COVID-19 vaccines on camera as of Thursday Dec. 3.

Because confidence in the vaccine’s effectiveness has been lagging due to misinformation, Obama, Bush and Clinton believe that this effort can help to combat these concerns and inspire the public to get vaccinated.

In a SiriusXM interview with radio talk-show host Joe Madison, Obama said that he would trust Dr. Fauci’s word on the safety of any coronavirus vaccine.

“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-19, absolutely, I’m going to take it.”

Obama was also optimistic about the potential of a public presentation.

“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-19,” Obama said.

Freddy Ford, President Bush’s chief of staff, spoke with CNN and said that Bush had been in contact with Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx – the White House’s current coronavirus response coordinator – to offer his help.

“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 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 do so gladly on camera.”

Meanwhile, President Clinton’s personal press secretary also told CNN that he would be willing to receive the vaccine in a similar filmed format.

“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as it’s available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials,” Angel Urena said. “And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”

Though former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, have not noted if they would be open to getting vaccinated publicly, they still remain firm in their optimism for the ongoing plans for vaccination.

“[The Carters] are in full support of COVID-19 vaccine efforts and encourage everyone who is eligible to get immunized as soon as it becomes available in their communities,” the Carter Center tweeted on Wednesday, Dec. 2.

A November Gallup poll revealed that 58% of Americans would be willing to receive a coronavirus vaccine. While this represents an increase from earlier in 2020 when skepticism was more widespread, public health experts insist that 60% to 70% of the U.S. population needs to take the vaccine to achieve “herd immunity.”

Communities of color, particularly Black Americans, have been doubtful of the vaccine’s safety.

“I understand, historically, everything dating back all the way to the Tuskegee experiments and so forth, why the African American community would have some skepticism,” Obama said in the aforementioned SiriusXM interview. “But the fact of the matter is, is that vaccines are why we don’t have polio anymore. And they’re the reason why we don’t have a whole bunch of kids dying from measles and smallpox and diseases that used to decimate entire populations and communities.”