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Obama, Bush, Clinton volunteer to publicly get COVID-19 vaccine to show it's safe

Polling shows about four in ten Americans are skeptical about taking a coronavirus vaccine, with a plurality citing the quick rollout.

Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton are reportedly open to publicly taking the forthcoming coronavirus vaccine in an effort to promote its use and safety.

"I will be taking it, and I may take it on TV or have it filmed so people know that I trust this science," Obama told SiriusXM's "The Joe Madison Show." CNBC reports the full interview is set to air Thursday.

CNN reports Bush and Clinton are also on board.

"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," Bush chief of staff Freddy Ford told CNN.

"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," Clinton press secretary Angel Urena told the network.

Polling has shown that there is skepticism in taking the vaccines, which have been produced in a matter of months rather than the years it normally takes.

A Gallup poll released Nov. 17 found 42% of Americans would not agree to get a vaccine approved by the Food and Drug Administration. A plurality said the rushed timeline was a concern. Others cited a need to confirm it is safe or effective. Twelve percent said they generally don't trust vaccines.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, has tried to allay fears about vaccine safety.

"The process of the speed did not compromise, at all, safety, nor did it compromise scientific integrity," Fauci said at a Nov. 19 White House briefing. "It was a reflection of the extraordinary scientific advances in these types of which allowed us to do things in months that actually took years before."

Pfizer and Moderna have both applied to the FDA for an emergency use authorization for their coronavirus vaccines. The companies said their vaccines have been about 95% effective in clinical trials, which are still ongoing.

Once the vaccines are approved, which could be in the next couple of weeks, the first doses may go to health care workers and long-term care residents. That was the suggestion by an influential panel advising the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.