World leaders are stepping forward to receive their Covid-19 immunizations on-camera in a bid to boost shaky public confidence in the vaccines’ safety, which has been undermined by their speedy development and approval after months of rampant misinformation and politicization.
- President-elect Joe Biden said that he would “be happy… (to) stand before the public” and prove the vaccine is safe once it has been authorized by regulators, joining three former presidents who had recently vowed to do the same.
- Former U.S. President Barack Obama told SiriusXM’s Joe Madison that he understands why the African-American community in particular would be wary of getting a jab, pointing to the long history of exploitation by medical establishments, but pledged to get his publicly “just so that people know that I trust this science, and what I don’t trust is getting Covid.”
- CNN reports that President George W. Bush has reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci, who heads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, who coordinates the White House Covid-19 task force, to “gladly” get his vaccine on camera once it is proven safe and given to priority populations.
- President Bill Clinton’s press secretary confirmed that he, too, would take a vaccine when made available to him according to public health priorities, and would be happy to “do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”
- While welcoming a shipment of vaccines into the country, Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu said he wanted to serve as a “personal example” to the citizens of Israel, vowing to be the first in the country to be inoculated.
- British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who was hospitalized with severe Covid-19 early on in the pandemic, will reportedly be injected on live television to inspire confidence in the vaccine, which has recently started to roll out across the country after being speedily approved by regulators.
- Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, the director of the World Health Organization, said he would be “happy to” publicly receive the vaccine, stressing that he would only do so once it is his “turn because I don’t want to take anybody’s vaccine.”
As the return of vaccine-preventable diseases to the U.S. sadly illustrates, resistance to taking vaccines is a considerable threat to public health. These issues are magnified with Covid-19, with wild conspiracy theories, outlandish misinformation and brazen denialism colliding with the fact that a number of these vaccines have been developed, tested and, barring the unexpected, approved at an unprecedented pace for a virus that is believed to have only emerged a year ago. President Trump, with his penchant for peddling falsehoods, has done little to instill public confidence, instead insisting on doing things at “warp speed” and openly pressuring officials to rush through approvals. While leaders like Trump seem willing to soak up praise for the speed at which the vaccines have been developed, his three most recent predecessors realize — alongside leaders elsewhere in the world — that the pandemic does not stop at the development of a vaccine, it will stop when enough people have taken the vaccine to interrupt the virus’ spread.