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The director of the World Health Organization is willing to get vaccinated on camera to build public confidence.
Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, an Ethiopian public health researcher and the head of WHO since 2017, said during a Friday briefing he is “happy to” publicly show himself receiving the COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available to him.
“It’s a good idea, and I support their offer,” Tedros said when asked about former US Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama committing to getting vaccinated publicly. “I would be happy to do the same thing, but at the same time, I need to also make sure that it’s my turn because I don’t want to take anybody’s vaccine.”
The three former presidents agreed to get vaccinated on camera to build American confidence in the drug. President-elect Joe Biden said he will take the vaccine once infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci determines it’s safe.
Survey data indicates Americans are skeptic of COVID-19 vaccines. A third of American respondents to WHO poll indicated they would not get vaccinated. Black Americans, who have faced higher rates of COVID-19 death than white citizens, are particularly hesitant to get vaccinated, possibly due to historic inequity in the healthcare system.
The skepticism extends globally. The president of Red Cross, the world’s largest humanitarian organization, called on governments to combat misinformation about vaccines due to declining trust.
Getting enough Americans vaccinated is crucial to achieving herd immunity in the country. Fauci said at least 75% of the population would need to get the vaccine by fall 2021 in order to get “close to some degree of normality.”
The UK became the first country to allow citizens to take the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Wednesday. The US Food and Drug Administration is currently determining whether to grant emergency use authorization to Pfizer’s vaccine, as well as one from biotech firm Moderna.
Late-stage trial analysis indicates the Pfizer vaccine prevented against COVID-19 95% of the time, while Moderna’s prevented it 94.1% of the time.
Obama said he’ll also follow Fauci’s lead in determining when to the vaccine is safe to take.
“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science,” the former president told SiriusXM host Joe Madison, “and what I don’t trust is getting COVID.”