As the first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines start rolling out across the U.S. many Americans have expressed skepticism about taking the new treatment –– but three former Presidents have stood up to the plate announcing that they would be among the first to be injected with the antigens, according to reports. Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton said they will publicly get the vaccine as a way to promote Americans to do the same, CNN reported.
Obama said that if top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, says the vaccine is safe and effective, then he will step forward and take it.
"I promise you that when it's been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it. I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science," Obama said in an interview on SiriusXM's The Joe Madison Show.
Following his lead was Bush and Clinton, who similarly said they would publicly get the vaccination.
Freddy Ford, Bush's chief of staff, told CNN that the former president reached out to Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, to discuss ways to promote the vaccine.
Ford said that the vaccines need to be officially deemed safe and administered to priority populations and then Bush will "get in line for his," adding that he would "gladly do so on camera."
Angel Urena, Clinton's press secretary, told the outlet that he, too, would take the vaccine on television.
Pfizer and Moderna, the two pharmaceutical companies who have raced to rollout their vaccinations, say their vaccines are about 95% effective.
Obama acknowledged that the Black community might be skeptical of vaccinations, citing the 1932 Tuskegee experiment, which was a Syphilis study done on African American men that misinformed the participants that they would be treated for the disease when they were in fact not, according to the Center for Disease Control.
"I understand you know 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, 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."
New York is slated to receive 170,000 vaccines on Dec. 15.