In a recent interview on SiriusXM's The Joe Madison Show, Obama suggested that he was more than happy to help ease concerns regarding the vaccines that are on the way. "I promise you that when it's been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it," he explained, suggesting that he'll take it if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, says it's safe. "I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science." Obama previously revealed that he would take the vaccine on Complex's 360 With Speedy Morman. "
"I will take it once the FDA approves it," Obama told Speedy. "If Dr. Fauci says it's alright, if the Biden administration—who I know will have surrounded him with the best scientists and experts—if they say, this is not only effective, but also safe, then not only will I take it, but my whole family will take it."
Also in the interview, Obama addressed the skepticism surrounding vaccines in the Black community. "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."
And Obama isn't the only former president who wants to promote public confidence in the vaccine once one becomes authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Bush's chief of staff, Freddy Ford, told CNN that Obama's predecessor has already contacted Fauci and White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx to see how he could help increase the public's confidence in it.
"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 said. "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."
Bill Clinton's press secretary Angel Urena also told CNN that he would be willing to take the vaccine on camera or in a public setting, too. "President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials," said Urena. "And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same."
Vaccines from the likes of Pfizer and Moderna have been developed in record speed, with both companies indicating their vaccines have so far proven to be around 95 percent effective. Members of the public, especially those prone to conspiracy theory lines of thinking, have expressed hesitancy when it comes to potential vaccines. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently published a survey that suggested Black Americans are more hesitant regarding vaccines than other racial and ethnic groups in the country.