President-elect Joe Biden is joining three former U.S. presidents volunteering to get their Covid-19 vaccines on camera. On Thursday, Biden, who is set to be inaugurated on Jan. 20, joined former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton in vowing to publicly get their coronavirus vaccine in an effort to promote public confidence in the vaccine's safety.
Biden confirmed that he would publicly get the vaccine while speaking with CNN's Jake Tapper Thursday. Asked if he would get vaccinated before the inauguration, and if he would do so in public, Biden confirmed that he would "be happy to do that." He went on to add that "when Dr. Fauci says we have a vaccine that is safe, that's the moment in which I will stand before the public and say that." Fauci, one of the nation's leading experts in infectious diseases, has on numerous occasions assured that vaccines regulated by the federal government will be safe, stating in mid-November that "the process of the speed did not compromise at all safety, nor did it compromise scientific integrity."
President-elect Joe Biden says he'd "be happy" to join former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton in getting a Covid vaccine in public to prove it's safe. "When Dr. Fauci says we have a vaccine that is safe, that's the moment in which I will stand before the public and say that" pic.twitter.com/JATvDIMP0n— CNN (@CNN) December 4, 2020
According to USA Today, in order to achieve herd immunity, health experts say at least 60% to 70% of the population needs to take a vaccine. However, polls have shown that there is skepticism among the American people regarding the vaccine’s safety, with a November Gallup poll finding that only 58% of Americans are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. Biden, speaking Thursday, acknowledged this.
"People have lost faith in the vaccine's ability to work. Already the numbers are staggeringly low, and it matters what a president and vice president do" he said, The Hill reports. "I think that my three predecessors have set the model as to what should be done, saying 'once it's declared to be safe ... then obviously, we take it.'"
Obama, Bush, and Clinton signaled this week that they would take a vaccine publicly. Bush’s chief of staff Freddy Ford told CNN that the 43rd President reached out to Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, to see how he could help promote the vaccine. "When the time is right," Ford said, Bush "wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated." Ford said that "Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera." Clinton's press secretary also confirmed that he would "in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same." Obama meanwhile had said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison that he "may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science."