Former US presidents Barack Obama, George W Bush and Bill Clinton have pledged to receive coronavirus vaccine on camera to help promote the safety of the vaccine.
The effort comes as the Food and Drug Administration prepares to meet next week to decide whether to authorize a Covid-19 vaccine produced by Pfizer and BioNTech.
In an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison, Obama said that he would trust Anthony Fauci if the infectious disease expert declares a coronavirus vaccine to be safe.
“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.”
Obama said he would take the vaccine once it was available for people “who are less at risk”. The 44th president is 59 and is not known to suffer from any serious health problems.
“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,” he added.
Freddy Ford, Bush’s chief of staff, told CNN the former president is also willing to receive the vaccine on camera.
“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 gladly do so on camera.”
Clinton’s press secretary told CNN that he too is prepared to be filmed as he takes the vaccine.
“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as 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.”
COVID-19 Vaccines developed by Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna-NIH are expected to be approved by US authorities soon with the United States reportedly hoping to immunize 100 million people by the end of February.