Ex-presidents would get vaccine publicly to boost confidence

FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2010, file photo President Barack Obama, center, walks out of the Oval Office of the White House with former Presidents Bill Clinton, left, and George W. Bush, right, to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington.  Three former presidents say they'd be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine publicly, once one becomes available, to encourage all Americans to get inoculated against a disease that has already killed more than 273,000 people nationwide. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File)
FILE - In this Jan. 16, 2010, file photo President Barack Obama, center, walks out of the Oval Office of the White House with former Presidents Bill Clinton, left, and George W. Bush, right, to deliver remarks in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington. Three former presidents say they'd be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine publicly, once one becomes available, to encourage all Americans to get inoculated against a disease that has already killed more than 273,000 people nationwide. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, File) (AP2010)

WASHINGTON – Three former presidents say they'd be willing to take a coronavirus vaccine publicly, once one becomes available, to encourage all Americans to get inoculated against a disease that has already killed more than 275,000 people nationwide.

Former President Barack Obama said during an episode of SiriusXM’s “The Joe Madison Show" airing Thursday, “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," Obama added, “just so that people know that I trust this science.”

That may not be possible for a while. The Food and Drug Administration will consider authorizing emergency use of two vaccines made by Pfizer and Moderna later this month, but current estimates project that no more than 20 million doses of each vaccine will be available by the end of this year. Each product also requires two doses, meaning shots will be rationed in the early stages.

Health care workers and nursing home residents should be at the front of the line, according to the influential Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. That encompasses about 24 million people out of a U.S. population of around 330 million.

Still, former President Bill Clinton would “definitely” be willing to get a vaccine, as soon as one is "available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials,” spokesman Angel Ureña said.

"And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same,” Ureña said in a statement Thursday.

Ureña declined to say whether Clinton's team has been in touch with other former presidents about perhaps setting up a joint public immunization session, whenever that might be possible.