Obama says he may take virus vaccine on TV to show trust in science

Obama and his two predecessors have all said they'd take one of the soon-to-be-approved COVID-19 vaccines to promote it.

Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton have all said they will take one of the soon-to-be-approved coronavirus vaccines. 

The three men also said they would be willing to record the moment to convince Americans of the vaccine’s efficacy. 

In this 2017 photo, former U.S. presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton attend a Presidents Cup trophy presentation at Liberty National Golf Club in Jersey City, New Jersey. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

“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 during an interview that is scheduled to air in full Thursday. “What I don’t trust is getting COVID.” 

Bush, through a spokesperson, said that once a coronavirus vaccine is deemed safe and administered to priority populations, the 43rd president would get vaccinated and “will gladly do so on camera.” 

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Clinton would also volunteer for vaccination, his spokeswoman told CNN, “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.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that 58 percent of Americans are willing to be vaccinated against COVID-19. However, that number changes by demographic. 

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As of the Nov. 1 poll, only 48 percent of non-white Americans are willing to take a vaccine against the virus that has killed more than 270,000 people across the country. 

“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. “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.”

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Some medical experts believe the COVID-19 vaccines have been politicized due to President Donald Trump‘s apparent push to rush through regulation. However, Dr. Anthony Fauci has supported them. 

Science Magazine notes that doctors also need to prepare the general public for what side effects they may experience due to the Moderna vaccine, which is administered in two doses. Muscle aches, fever, and headache have all been reported. 

Experts note that the side effects have to be explained publicly to ensure that people return later for the second dose. 

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