Former President Barack Obama expressed confidence in a COVID-19 vaccine Wednesday and even said he might be willing to televise himself taking it to calm any fears the public has.
“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it, and I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed just so that people know that I trust this science,” Obama said during an interview on SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show” that will air fully on Thursday. “What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”
A majority of Americans are planning to receive a COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available, with Democrats and older people among the most willing, according to a recent Gallup poll. Among white adults, 61% will take the vaccine, compared to 42% of non-white adults.
Regarding why some in the black community might be reticent to take a COVID-19 vaccine, Obama pinpointed the Tuskegee Syphilis Study as a possible reason. The infamous experiment, conducted from 1932 to 1972 by the United States Public Health Service and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deceived black men infected with syphilis into thinking they were being treated; in reality, they were simply being used as case studies on the long-term effects of untreated syphilis.
“And 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,” Obama said. “But the fact of the matter is, is that vaccines are why we don’t have polio anymore, and they’re 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.”
Vaccines from several different companies could be available within weeks. Pfizer’s vaccine was approved in the U.K. on Wednesday, and Moderna announced Monday they will submit an application for approval to the Food and Drug Administration.
As The Daily Wire reported regarding Pfizer:
The U.K. approved the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use on Wednesday, becoming the first country in the West to approve a COVID-19 vaccine for the general public.
“Today’s Emergency Use Authorization in the U.K. marks a historic moment in the fight against COVID-19. This authorization is a goal we have been working toward since we first declared that science will win, and we applaud the MHRA for their ability to conduct a careful assessment and take timely action to help protect the people of the U.K.,” said Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla. “As we anticipate further authorizations and approvals, we are focused on moving with the same level of urgency to safely supply a high-quality vaccine around the world. With thousands of people becoming infected, every day matters in the collective race to end this devastating pandemic.”
The vaccine was co-developed by Pfizer, an American pharmaceutical company, and BioNTech, a biotech company based in Germany. Pfizer previously said its vaccine is 95% effective against COVID-19, and also has 94% effectiveness with adults over age 65.