News has abounded in recent weeks about at least three effective candidates for a COVID-19 vaccine. But as the Food and Drug Administration prepares to consider emergency use authorization for these critical drugs, many people remain skeptical. According to a Gallup poll from last month, only 58% of Americans are “highly likely” to receive a COVID vaccine.
But now, three former US presidents have said that they are willing to take the vaccine publicly as a way to encourage the American people to follow suit. Former Presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama have separately expressed a willingness to receive their shots in front of a camera, in order to build public trust in the life-saving inoculation.
“Trust the Science”
Freddy Ford, George Bush’s chief of staff, says that the former president came up with the concept after speaking with two of the country’s most recognizable virus experts: Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx.
Meanwhile, Bill Clinton’s press secretary, Angel Urena, has said that the 42nd president is willing to get vaccinated “in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”
As for Obama, he spoke candidly about vaccination on SiriusXM radio. “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed,” he said, “just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
An FDA advisory panel will convene next week to consider approving a vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech. The companies behind the drug claim that it is 95% effective at preventing COVID-19, according to its trials.
Last Tuesday, the United Kingdom became the first Western country to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine. Subsequently, U.S. Health and Human Services Sec. Alex Azar said that the vaccine, as well as the one developed by competitor Moderna, could be ready for distribution by Christmas.
Still, developing broad trust and buy-in for the vaccine will be paramount in the coming months. That will likely entail a massive marketing campaign that uses several prominent faces to convince the public of the vaccine’s importance. And it looks like at least three prominent faces are already willing to take part.