American former presidents must persuade their fellow countrymen to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.
Barack Obama, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter can be seen in television commercials explaining why they think this is important. Donald Trump, who left the White House earlier this year, is the only living former president not participating.
The wives of the former leaders also participate in the information campaign. In a one-minute commercial, you can see how the couples themselves are vaccinated. “To get rid of this pandemic, it is important that our fellow citizens are vaccinated,” said Bush, who says he is very much looking forward to the day when he can go to another sports game in a full stadium.
Obama, Bush and Clinton are also in a shorter, more formal commercial. It was filmed in the theatre at Arlington National Cemetery and is more like a presidential speech. Bush takes the floor and addresses his “fellow Americans”. Then the former presidents explain that millions of Americans can already get vaccinated and save lives.
The short information video was made around the new president Joe Biden, says a spokesman for the organization behind the ads, the Ad Council. Trump did not want to go there after his election defeat and is not in the video. The Ad Council says it is happy that Trump has also called on his fellow countrymen to get vaccinated.
Tens of millions of Americans have also been vaccinated without the prompting of their former leaders. The Washington Post newspaper calculated that 62.5 million people have now had at least one shot. That amounts to almost 19 percent of the population.
States themselves have control over who is eligible for a vaccine. With more than 730,000 inhabitants, Alaska decided this week as the first state that all residents aged 16 and older can get injected. “We want to get rid of this virus. As far and as soon as possible,” said Governor Mike Dunleavy.