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Biden says he will join former presidents in publicly getting COVID vaccine

Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY
·2 min read
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WASHINGTON – President-elect Joe Biden said he would publicly take a vaccine when it's available to encourage the public to get vaccinated, joining three former presidents who recently pledged to do the same.

Biden said he'd "be happy" to join former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton in getting the vaccine in public to prove it is safe.

More: Former Presidents Obama, Clinton and Bush say they'd get a COVID-19 vaccine on camera to prove safety

"When Dr. Fauci says we have a vaccine that is safe, that's the moment in which I will stand before the public," Biden said during an interview on CNN Thursday night.

“People have lost faith in the ability of the vaccine to work,” Biden told CNN, pointing to the high number of cases. "It matters what a president and vice president do. I think my three predecessors have set the model on what should be done."

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The former presidents said this week they are willing to get a coronavirus vaccine to prove the treatment is safe and effective. They may even film themselves getting injected.

Some states and biopharmaceutical companies already planning on mass distribution of vaccines throughout the country during the early months of next year.

Biden reiterated Thursday that he would not hesitate to get the vaccine if experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci said it was safe, who has offered assurances that vaccines regulated by the federal government will be safe.

More: Joe Biden asks Anthony Fauci, the federal coronavirus expert, to become his chief medical adviser

Biden stated that if the vaccines reach the "measure" of being deemed safe by Fauci and other experts, then "obviously it's important to communicate to the American people that it's safe. It's safe to do this."

Biden told CNN he asked Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases who has been a top official dealing with the pandemic, to become his chief medical adviser and part of his COVID-19 response team.

In order to achieve "herd immunity", a public health term for when a critical mass of the public is inoculated against a given infectious disease, health experts say at least 60% to 70% of the population needs to take a vaccine. A November Gallup poll found 58% of Americans are willing to receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Biden says he'd join ex-presidents in taking COVID vaccine publicly