Former Presidents and First Ladies Record Ads to Promote COVID Vaccine as They Are Seen Getting Their Shots
Eight of the country's living former presidents and first ladies united for a pair of new ad spots urging Americans to get the COVID-19 vaccine when they can.
Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama appear in one of the new vaccine ads, along with wives Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama.
"This vaccine means hope," President Obama, 59, says in the ad. "It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease."
All four of the former first couples are shown in the ad receiving their vaccinations.
"In order to get rid of this pandemic, it's important for our fellow citizens to get vaccinated," President Bush, 74, says.
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"We've lost enough people," President Clinton, 74, adds. "We've suffered enough damage."
President Carter, 96, only appears in the ad via photo but in a voice-over he urges others to get the vaccination so that the pandemic can "end as soon as possible."
As of Thursday morning, at least 528,829 people in the U.S. have died from COVID-19 out of more than 29.2 million confirmed cases, according to a New York Times tracker.
Speaking with PEOPLE for this week's cover story, Mrs. Obama said she "encourage[d] everyone to get a vaccine as soon as they have an opportunity."
CNN reports the new ad spot will begin airing this week, according to the Ad Council. TV networks and some digital platforms donated airtime in order to run the ads, according to the network.
President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump were the only members of the so-called "formers" not to appear in the ad. (PEOPLE previously reported the Trumps received their vaccines in January before leaving office.)
A second 30-second spot shows Obama, Bush, and Clinton together at the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery, apparently recorded on the day of Joe Biden's inauguration.
In a break with tradition, Trump, 74, did not attend Biden's Jan. 20 inauguration, while the Carters stayed home in Georgia because of their age and heightened COVID-19 risk. President Carter sent Biden his "best wishes," in a statement.
In the second ad, Obama, Bush and Clinton offer assurance that the science behind the approved COVID-19 vaccines show they are safe and effective to take.
"The science is clear, these vaccines will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease," Bush says.
"That's the first step to ending the pandemic and moving our country forward," Obama adds. "It's up to you."
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