Former President Barack Obama said he “absolutely” plans on getting a Covid-19 vaccine when it’s available and added that he may end up taking it on video to promote public confidence.
Obama, in an interview with SiriusXM host Joe Madison scheduled to air Thursday, said if Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, said a coronavirus vaccine is safe, he believes him.
“People like Anthony Fauci, who I know, and I’ve worked with, I trust completely,” Obama said. “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,” he said.
During the interview, Obama appeared to acknowledge the very real problem of vaccine hesitancy, which some health experts worry could cause minorities — who have been more adversely affected by the coronavirus pandemic — to avoid getting a shot.
“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. 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,” he said.
The former President said he has no problem setting an example for getting a shot once one is available.
“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,” he said.
Previous studies have revealed that minority communities have higher death rates from Covid-19, are more exposed and the most vulnerable in part because of pre-existing conditions.
Obama also said in addition to promising vaccines, another reason to be hopeful is the incoming administration with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“In terms of Covid now, obviously at the end of the day, one of the great things about having Joe Biden and Kamala Harris back in charge on January 20, is they will also then put scientists and medical experts in charge,” Obama added.