Former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton all say they plan to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available to them, and all have offered to take the vaccine in a public setting to demonstrate the safety and importance of vaccinations, according to CNN and NBC News.
In an interview with SiriusXM radio host Joe Madison, which will air Thursday, Obama said he trusts health experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci "completely" and will follow their recommendations when it comes to vaccines.
"People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I've worked with, I trust completely. 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.
"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."
Obama's predecessor, George W. Bush, has also committed to receiving the vaccine publicly. According to NBC News, top Bush aide Freddy Ford said that the 43rd president would take the vaccine publicly when it is authorized.
"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.
Finally, representatives for former president Bill Clinton also confirmed to CNN that he would also receive the vaccine in a public setting when he is able to do so.
"President Clinton 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," his press secretary Angel Urena said.
During his interview with Joe Madison, Obama said he understands why some Americans — especially those in the Black community — are hesitant to get vaccines. He cited the Tuskegee experiments, a 40-year experiment where doctors knowingly failed to treat Black men who were suffering from syphilis in order to study the effects.
However, Obama stressed that widespread vaccinations are extremely important in keeping Americans and their neighbors safe and free of disease.
"The fact of the matter is, is that vaccines are why we don't have polio anymore, 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," Obama said.