President-elect Joe Biden will get the coronavirus vaccine when it is safe to do so, he pledged in a Dec. 3 televised interview. Biden’s promise came the same day that three former presidents—Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush—said they’d get the vaccine to help assure the American public of its safety and efficacy.
In a CNN interview with Jake Tapper, Biden said he would get the vaccine as part of the effort to combat the coronavirus pandemic that has adversely affected the world for the past nine months. In the same interview, Biden encouraged Americans to wear masks during the first 100 days of his administration—a period in which vaccines will become more readily available and yet also a period in which health officials fear an increase in cases and deaths.
“When Dr. [Anthony] Fauci says we have a vaccine that is safe, that’s the moment in which I will stand before the public,” Biden said, according to USA Today’s report on the interview.
“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,” he continued. “It matters what a president and vice president do. I think my three predecessors have set the model on what should be done.”
Biden told CNN he requested that Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a top official working on the pandemic response, be his chief medical adviser and be part of the new administration’s team fighting the pandemic.
Biden’s comments came just hours after revelations that the three most recent past presidents would get the vaccine to help encourage other Americans to take it.
Obama, who initially made the pledge on SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show,” noted, “I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science. What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
“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, a spokesman for Clinton, told USA Today. A representative for Bush also confirmed his willingness to take the vaccine.
Vice President-elect Kamala Harris, who also participated in the interview, pledged to take it. “We also want to make sure that the American people know that we are committed,” she said. “The president-elect and I talked about this all the time, but the people who need it most are going to be a priority.”
As The Hill recalled, Harris stated during her vice presidential debate in October, “If Donald Trump tells us to take it, I’m not taking it.”
USA Today noted that only 58% of Americans said they were willing to take the vaccine per a November Gallup poll—and that represented an increase from just 50% saying they would in September.