Jimmy Carter joins other ex-presidents encouraging COVID vaccine use

President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn bow in prayer along with members and visitors during the worship service at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia on Sunday, June 9, 2019, less than a month after the 39th U.S. president and Plains native fell, breaking his hip.  Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com
President Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn bow in prayer along with members and visitors during the worship service at Maranatha Baptist Church in Plains, Georgia on Sunday, June 9, 2019, less than a month after the 39th U.S. president and Plains native fell, breaking his hip. Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

A day after America witnessed its worst day in coronavirus-related deaths, Jimmy Carter joined three other living former presidents Thursday in encouraging Americans to get a COVID-19 vaccination shot as soon as it becomes available.

In a statement, Carter said that he and his wife, Rosalynn, “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.”

Carter’s office didn’t confirm whether he planned to get the vaccine. Carter is 96 years old.

Rosalynn Carter, who is 93, was a staunch advocate for vaccines as Georgia’s First Lady and subsequently co-founded Vaccinate Your Family in 1991 to ensure equitable access to immunizations.

Earlier Thursday, former presidents Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama all agreed to get vaccinated ― in front of television cameras if they had to ― to instill confidence in Americans who have watched more than 270,000 people in the country die from the coronavirus.

ExploreFormer presidents vow to take vaccine to boost public confidence

On Wednesday, more than 2,770 Americans died of COVID-19, a grim record. But in a November Gallup poll, 42% of Americans said they didn’t plan to receive a coronavirus vaccine.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, also said that he would be willing to be vaccinated on camera.

Earlier this week, Centers for Disease Control vaccine advisers voted 13-1 to recommend that health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities be first in line for any coronavirus vaccines that get emergency authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

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