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Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter encourage people to take COVID-19 vaccine

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter encourage people to take COVID-19 vaccine
© The Carter Center

The Carter Center issued a statement Thursday saying former President Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter are encouraging Americans to take the COVID-19 vaccine when it becomes available.

“Former U.S. President Jimmy CarterJimmy CarterWhy Joe Biden should pardon Donald Trump Trump's pardons harshly criticized by legal experts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official MORE and his wife, Rosalynn, said today that they are in full support of COVID-19 vaccine efforts and encourage everyone who is eligible to get immunized as soon as it becomes available in their communities,” the statement reads

The center’s message also mentions that Rosalynn Carter was a “staunch advocate for vaccines” while she was first lady of Georgia and co-founded Vaccinate Your Family in 1991 to improve access to vaccines.

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The Carter Center’s release comes after former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton all offered to get the COVID-19 vaccine in public to show its safety and urge others to follow suit. 

Obama told SiriusXM host Joe Madison that he would take the vaccine if top infectious diseases expert Anthony FauciAnthony FauciOvernight Health Care: Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states | CDC researchers find 'little evidence' of major school outbreaks, with precautions | Eli Lilly says antibody combo significantly cuts COVID-19 death risk Biden takes steps to boost number of vaccine doses sent to states World surpasses 100M coronavirus cases MORE approves of it. 

“People like Anthony Fauci, who I know and I’ve worked with, I trust completely,” Obama said. “So if Anthony Fauci tells me this vaccine is safe, and can vaccinate, you know, immunize you from getting COVID, absolutely I’m going to take it.”

Obama acknowledged his public receiving of the vaccine could be important to help destigmatize vaccinations among the Black community. 

“I understand, historically, everything dating back all the way to the Tuskegee experiments and so forth, why the African American community would have some skepticism,” he said, acknowledging the research study in which Black men with syphilis were not treated and told of the disease.  

Representatives for Clinton and Bush also indicated the former presidents will follow public health official instructions and promote getting vaccinated. 

The first vaccinations are set to become available to front-line health care workers and at-risk populations later this month after the U.S. approves emergency use authorization from pharmaceutical companies with viable vaccine candidates.