Former President Barack Obama (D) says he is willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes widely available and that he may have his vaccination publicized in a bid to boost confidence in it.
During an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” that is set to air on Thursday but was released a day early, Obama said, “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.”
“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,” he added.
He also said that he understands why the African American community would be skeptical about the medical community. He cited the example of the Tuskegee syphilis study — where federal medical researchers studied Black men who had syphilis for 40 years.
The researchers did not disclose the diagnosis or provide treatment.
Still, Obama said, “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.”
Additionally, he urged the African American, Latino, and Native American communities to get vaccinated as he noted that the coronavirus has disproportionately impacted minority communities.
In early November, Pfizer and Moderna announced that their late-stage coronavirus vaccine trials were more than 90% effective in preventing the virus.
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said coronavirus vaccines could be authorized and ready for distribution by Christmas.
Additionally, the Department of Transportation said it has taken steps so that there can be an “immediate mass shipment” of the vaccine. The department also said it has developed “appropriate safety requirements for all potential hazards involved in shipping the vaccine, including standards for dry ice and lithium batteries used in cooling.”
Amid the positive news related to Pfizer and Moderna’s trials, a Gallup poll found that 58% of Americans said they would be willing to get vaccinated.
However, the number was lower among non-white adults, with 48% of respondents saying they would be willing to get vaccinated.