Former Presidents Obama, Bush & Clinton Say They'll Publicly Receive COVID Vaccine to Prove Safety

Both Pfizer and Moderna have already submitted approval requests to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for their COVID-19 vaccines

Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton
Photo: Getty (3)

When the COVID-19 vaccine is ready, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton will be first in line to take it.

Over the course of the last week, all three former Unites States leaders have said that they will volunteer to take the vaccine publicly in order to prove its safety to the American public.

"People like Anthony Fauci, who I know and I’ve worked with, I trust completely," Obama, 59, said in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison scheduled to air in full on Thursday. "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," the 44th president added, noting that the vaccine will likely first become available for high-risk communities. "I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don't trust is getting COVID."

Meanwhile, Bush's chief of staff, Freddy Ford, told CNN that the 43rd president also plans to promote the vaccine. According to Ford, Bush, 74, contacted Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx, both part of the White House coronavirus task force, to see how he can help.

"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 told CNN. "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."

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And according to Clinton's press secretary, the 42nd president, 74, plans to join Bush and Obama in publicly promoting the vaccine once it becomes available.

"President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials. And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same," Angel Ureña, said in a statement to PEOPLE.

Earlier this week, Fauci said that the majority of Americans who wish to get vaccinated for COVID-19 should be able to do so by April or May of next year.

"So right now, the federal government is contracted with multiple companies to make about 600 million doses of vaccine, which would be good enough for around 300 million people getting vaccinated — hence, everyone that you would imagine that would want to get vaccinated in the country would have a vaccine," the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases told Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in an interview on Monday.

Dr. Anthony Fauci
Dr. Anthony Fauci. Tasos Katopodis/Getty

Fauci explained that high-priority people — including essential workers, health care providers, and those considered high-risk — will be the first to receive a vaccine in December.

"And as we get into January, the next tier. And February, then March. By the time we get to April, we would likely have taken care of all the high priority and then the general population — the normal, healthy young man or woman, 30 years old that has no underlying conditions — can walk into a CVS or to a Walgreens and get vaccinated," he said.

Moderna has requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for its vaccine, the New York Times reported Monday. If approved, the vaccine could start to be distributed as early as December 21.

Pfizer requested the same authorization last month.

As of Thursday morning, there have been more than 13,999,300 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the U.S. and at least 273,500 people have died, according to a New York Times database.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.

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