Fact check: Obama, Bush and Clinton would publicly get vaccinated to boost confidence

The claim: Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton volunteered to get their COVID-19 vaccines on camera

The rapid COVID-19 vaccine developments by Pfizer and Moderna have been met with skepticism from some people about the vaccines' effectiveness and safety.

As many as two-thirds of U.S. voters said they wouldn't try to get a coronavirus vaccine as soon as it becomes available, according to a USA TODAY/Suffolk Poll released in September.

In an attempt to ease skepticism surrounding the new vaccines, former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton said they would be vaccinated against COVID-19 on camera, a social media post claims.

"OBAMA, BUSH AND CLINTON SAY THEY WILL TAKE THE COVID-19 VACCINE PUBLICLY TO GAIN PUBLIC TRUST," the Instagram post reads, accompanied by a photo of the three former presidents. The post's caption gives Forbes as the source of the news.

Several users in the comments expressed that they still had doubts. 

"This makes me trust it less," wrote one user.

"I’ll only take it if trump takes it," another user commented. 

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Obama on board for public vaccination 

It's true that Obama, Bush and Clinton said they are willing to get a COVID-19 vaccine to prove it's safe and effective, and they would even potentially film themselves getting injected to build confidence,USA TODAY reported

In an interview with SiriusXM's "The Joe Madison Show" that aired on Wednesday, Dec. 2, Obama said, "I promise you that when it's been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it."

"I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science," Obama added. “What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”

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Bush and Clinton will also get vaccine

Shortly after Obama's announcement, representatives for Bush and Clinton confirmed that they also would be willing to take the vaccine publicly to boost confidence.

Bush Chief of Staff Freddy Ford said the 43rd president reached out to Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the White House coronavirus response coordinator, to see how he could help promote the COVID-19 vaccine, CNN reported. 

"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," Ford told CNN

Angel Ureña, a spokesman for Clinton, told USA TODAY that Clinton would also 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," Ureña said. 

Drug companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have the leading vaccine candidates, and a COVID-19 vaccine could come within weeks in a limited supply to front line medical workers. 

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Our rating: True

It's TRUE that former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are willing to publicly take a COVID-19 vaccine once it is available in the U.S. to encourage the public to do the same. Obama said in an interview he would get vaccinated once it was approved to be safe and effective, and representatives for Bush and Clinton confirmed they would also be willing to publicly get the shots.

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