The Left’s Stupid Second-Guessing Of Biden

Actually, turns out none of that is in The Plan. What is there are proposals—well before the idea of Barack Obama or Bernie Sanders running for president was widely contemplated—for robust expansion of government to allow universal access to free college; universal health care for children; increases in the minimum wage and on taxes paid by the wealthy and corporations; and investments in clean energy with the aim of cutting national gasoline consumption in half by 2015.

Now the people who advocated these ideas are viewed as apostates by the Democratic left.

As a journalist, count me in for a good old-fashioned ideological bloodletting. Intraparty conflict on matters of genuine principle is an important story; in the fashion of a forest fire, it can sometimes be an agent of party renewal.

In the case of the scowling warnings about who does and does not have the left’s seal of approval for duty in the incoming Biden administration, however, the conflict rests heavily on optical illusion.

These are matters of personal preference—and, in some cases, genuine differences over political strategy—masquerading as vital ideological questions. It’s possible many people making the arguments for and against potential Biden appointees don’t know how flimsy the factual predicates for their strong opinions really are.

Among the most absurd examples was the swirl of speculation over who would be Biden’s chief of staff. Many on the left were worried Biden would pick Steve Ricchetti; They were pleased that he went instead with Ron Klain.

It was news to many who know both men that either man has an ideological profile different than the moderate progressivism embraced by most Democratic professional operatives, much less that there are important distinctions between them. Some activists don’t like how Ricchetti represented corporate interests in his public affairs work when not in government. Apparently working in venture capital with billionaire Steve Case, as Klain did when not in government, is better background for the kind of populist disruption the left is seeking. One Democrat who worked with both men in the Clinton and Obama White Houses joked that Klain’s success in positioning himself to the left of Ricchetti (who will serve in the West Wing as counselor) may be the best evidence that he has the necessary political cunning to be an effective chief of staff.

The differences are scarcely more real in other battles that have drawn notice in the Democrats’ intramural struggles. The Washington Post said some on the left were troubled that Biden chose Antony Blinken as secretary of State over Susan Rice. While it is deplorable how Republicans have demonized Rice, an African American woman, there are scant differences on a center-left spectrum between the two; Both are foreign policy establishment stalwarts.

Meanwhile, Biden’s choice as budget director, Neera Tanden, is drawing the kind of fire Rice would have taken from Republicans—quite the coincidence that she also is an outspoken women of color. But Tanden is also drawing grumbles from some on the left, even though she is president of the Center for American Progress, one of the leading generators of progressive policy ideas. That’s because she was vocal in arguing that Bernie Sanders would be a poor choice as nominee on electability grounds.

That argument, carried over from the 2020 Democratic nominating contest—which was itself an echo of a generation-long intraparty debate—is actually the real crux of the matter.

There is no serious argument that Tanden, like Emanuel and Reed, is not a committed lifelong progressive. But it is true that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has publicly urged that Emanuel and Reed be kept out of the administration, is not laboring under a big misunderstanding about her targets. She knows why she doesn’t like them.

The most important debate in the Democratic Party right now isn’t between centrists and the left on fundamental policy aims but on how to present those aims to the public and then achieve them. Both the centrists who want a robust expansion of government and those on the left who want to go even further have the same problem: Insufficient legislative power to do more than modestly advance the goals of either wing. One side, the side of AOC and her allies on the left, believe the answer to this problem is a more creative politics of mobilization—putting forth a bolder agenda and defiantly drawing lines in a way that excites people who should naturally vote Democratic but often don’t vote at all because the stakes have not been framed sharply enough. The other side believes the answer is a more creative politics of persuasion—simultaneously engaging and reassuring voters who are skeptical of undiluted progressivism but can be coaxed into backing Democrats through more pragmatic appeals.

Here is where, as often seems to happen in Democratic intraparty battles, the road leads back to Rahm Emanuel. For more than a quarter century, as White House senior adviser under Clinton, as a member of Congress from 2003 to 2009, as Obama’s chief of staff in the first term, and in two terms as the mayor of Chicago, he has stood consistently—and loudly—for the politics of persuasion. Now he is hoping to be picked by Biden as secretary of Transportation. Unlike the mild-mannered and cerebral Reed—who served as domestic policy chief under Clinton and was a chief of staff to Vice President Biden—Emanuel has relished picking fights with the left. (Reed once joked that he taught Emanuel how to do policy, and Emanuel taught him how to be an asshole.) Emanuel believes he is right that progressive politics rests on political support that is acutely perishable, and that those on the left are wrong in underestimating the danger of over-reach, or for reaching the wrong goal altogether.

As Obama’s chief of staff, Emanuel lost two big internal debates. One was his argument for a more incremental approach to health care reform. That sounds like something you’d expect from a centrist. Obama said he wasn’t elected to pursue incrementalism. The other argument was for a more vigorous and punitive campaign denouncing Wall Street malfeasance after the 2008 financial crash. That doesn’t necessarily sound like what a centrist would say. Obama sided with financial advisers who urged that scoring political points against bankers might shake confidence and slow economic recovery. Whatever the substantive merits of Emanuel’s positions, it is clear he was right in warning that Democrats were flying into a storm in 2010—the midterm elections in which control of the House flipped to Republicans, limiting Obama’s options for the balance of his term.

If the Democratic left doesn’t want a president who would be tempted to appoint the likes of Ricchetti, Emanuel, or Reed, the best option would have been to win the nomination and general election for someone like Sanders or Elizabeth Warren—who wouldn’t want that crowd working for them and for whom that crowd wouldn’t want to work. Sanders and Warren backers tried that in 2020 and didn’t succeed.

This reality of power is what makes the left’s hectoring of Biden about who is worthy to serve in a Biden administration these activists never wanted in the first place such a foolish exercise.

The alternative to stupid second-guessing isn’t simply to shut up. It is smart second-guessing. AOC and others on the left are surely right that an administration headed by a president who came to Washington in the 1970s, and who is surrounded by advisers who began their government service in the 1980s and 1990s, isn’t necessarily going to be fully attuned to the challenges of the 2020s. They will benefit from being pushed.

But the left should push Biden on policy ideas—and help give him the broad political support needed to implement those polices. There is little benefit to trying to exert influence with likely unsuccessful bids to pick off potential appointees on the basis of spurious ideological arguments about who really counts as a progressive.

The key to combating vaccine hesitancy? Deep listening, tailored messaging.

In modern medical history, what is about to happen is unprecedented: Multiple new COVID-19 vaccines are being developed with different approaches. They’ll be hitting markets around the globe in just a short period of time to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

It is a colossal medical achievement, but there’s more hard work ahead. Once vaccines are distributed across the globe, people then have to agree to take them.

Related: Social media misinformation is ‘growing threat’ to coronavirus vaccine efforts, survey shows

Julie Leask researches vaccine hesitancy at the University of Sydney in Australia. She spoke to The World’s host Marco Werman about how to address people’s questions about the vaccine. 

Marco Werman: So this is going to be a worldwide effort. Julie, what are the key dos and don’ts when it comes to getting people to have confidence in the vaccine? 

Julie Leask: One of the most important things when people are thinking about having a new vaccine is looking at what their peers and their family and friends are doing. Seeing that other people are having the vaccine is starting to become normalized. I think that will probably flip some of those people over who are on the fence right now and aren’t quite sure what to do about it. Of course, there are going to be some people who will not ever vaccinate. Hopefully that’s going to be a small number of people. 

So your field is vaccine hesitancy. Locally in Australia, what are you observing right now on vaccine hesitancy? 

Look, countries are quite varied. Australia, we have about 88 percent of people intending to have the COVID-19 vaccine — if it were recommended to them. And I know that drops a little bit if you are in the US right through to Russia and Poland, which have intentions of around 50 percent. So in Australia, where we’re a very pro-vaccination country, actually, we really defend vaccination of children very strongly with some of our policies. But naturally, there is always going to be a group of people who are a bit wary, particularly when we haven’t got the Phase 3 trial results released yet and we’re not exactly sure what we’re looking at with these vaccines. Certainly the public cannot [either]. So, confidence will build a little bit more over time in Australia and other countries. 

COVID-19 is different. And I’m wondering about the urgency of the situation — like the need to stem a pandemic that’s affected the entire world and how everybody lives. Has the urgency made people overall less wary of the vaccine? 

No, surprisingly not, because here, of course, we’re talking about a vaccine that will be initially offered to adults, health care workers, the elderly, people with chronic diseases, people working on the front line. So with adult vaccination, you see slightly lower vaccination rates. And you also see a little bit more hesitancy around adult vaccination. And the levels of hesitancy we’re seeing globally at the moment, at least in the countries that are measuring this, are sort of what you’d expect at this stage. You know, in a way, it is on a bit of a knife-edge because — depending on how this program goes, how people experience having that vaccine, how they experience side effects and make sense of them — it will have a lot of impact on how people in future cohorts approach having the vaccine and think about it and are motivated to have it. 

Related: COVID-19 takes its toll on Mexico’s health workers

Have you been involved in vaccine programs in other countries where you had to deal with vaccine hesitancy? And how did you deal with it? 

I’ve been an adviser for the World Health Organization, visiting countries including Serbia, Romania and Samoa. And I’ve also observed programs to address vaccine hesitancy in many countries. It always starts with understanding the communities you’re working with. We can’t second-guess people. We need to understand, in a country or a locality or a community, what are the issues that those people have with the vaccine? What are the experiences they’ve had with the vaccine program so far? Who are the community influences and what are they saying about the vaccine? The religious leaders? And that flows right over to the individual conversation a health professional or even a family member might have with someone else who is hesitant. “Tell me about your thoughts. What is concerning you right now?” Hearing them out and acknowledging them and then tailoring the information that you give them and share with them according to where they’re at — you know, that’s the core to dealing with vaccine hesitancy really well. 

Here in the US, Black and Latino communities are being infected and dying at disproportionately high rates. Mistrust of a COVID-19 vaccine also happens to be high in those same communities. They also have legitimate historical reasons for being wary of inoculation campaigns. What are ways to overcome that? Are there models? 

These are really challenging questions because mistrust and past performance have a big impact on whether people are willing to accept technology or a prevention measure that a government is recommending that you have and that the system is recommending you have. So if there have been past injustices and bad experiences — racism, systemic racism — then people are going to be understandably wary. In the end, we have to ask those communities how it’s best to approach them. So as a white Australian woman, I’m not going to pretend I know the best way to reach African American communities who themselves will be diverse. But what I will say is that we know from past experience with vaccination hesitancy, working to tailor immunization programs in different communities, that when you use local community influencers, people who are trusted, people who reach many people in that community, that can have quite a strong impact, for better or worse. And also investing in good systems so people have a good experience with the health care service, so that questions are answered, so they are treated well, so they don’t have to question whether the color of my skin is affecting the way I’m being treated in this clinic. That means that those people will then go and share that good experience with their broader community and that will have an impact as well. 

Ultimately, Julie, do you think vaccine hesitancy is a first-world problem or is it a serious concern across the planet? 

Any person in any country is capable of having questions about whether this needle or these drops are going to be safe for me or my child. So vaccine hesitancy, i.e. the reluctance to have a vaccine because of concerns about it, is an issue globally. It tends to be quite localized, though. So there have been particular vaccine safety scares that are affecting particular countries that have their own characteristics. The Philippines, northern Nigeria, Indonesia, more recently, the US, the Northeast and of course, New York state with the various issues you’ve had there with Hasidic communities. So, yeah, it tends to be very localized and very specific to that setting. And it is not limited to just high-income countries. And in the same way that in high-income countries there are people who are poor, don’t have access to health insurance, don’t have good transport access to health services, who themselves don’t get vaccinated — not because they don’t want to, but because it’s difficult to do. So we need to think about all of the barriers to vaccination in all countries and again, using data to do that so that the solutions that we have are based on evidence, not anecdote. 

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed for clarity.

Gov. Whitmer releases interim report with COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities

LANSING — Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities, Chaired by Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II, released an interim report detailing the significant progress Michigan has made in protecting communities of color from the spread of COVID-19.  

“From the beginning, our administration has listened to medical experts and taken a fact-based approach to eliminating COVID-19 in our most vulnerable communities, and we have seen significant progress,” said Governor Whitmer. “Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist and the leaders on the Task Force have been crucial in helping us dramatically reduce the number of cases, hospitalizations, and deaths in communities of color by expanding testing and providing crucial support to community organizations. Our work is far from over, and cases and hospitalizations are still rising statewide, but this team remains dedicated to working with medical experts and protecting our communities, frontline workers, and small businesses. Our immediate focus now is holding our progress, flattening the infection curve, and remaining vigilant with mask wearing and social distancing. 

The coronavirus pandemic has shined a light on the health, economic, and educational challenges that communities of color face daily,” Lt. Governor Gilchrist said. “Today’s report shows that significant progress has been made toward our goal to reduce these disparities over the past six months. But as cases continue to rise, we need to recognize that our work is not done because each of us have a role to play to make sure that we defeat this virus. When we successfully make it to the other side of this pandemic, we will hug each other a little tighter, check in on each other a little more, and be proud of the work we did to make each other’s lives better.”

The Task Force’s interim report details a number of actions the state has taken to protect communities of color, frontline workers, and small businesses from the spread of COVID-19. As of November 16, more than 24,000 tests have been administered in previously underserved communities across 21 Neighborhood Testing sites. These state-operated sites provide COVID-19 testing on a consistent schedule, several days per week. All sites offer free testing, and a prescription is not required for someone to be tested, nor is any form of ID required 

From March and April to September and October, the average cases per million per day for African American Michiganders dropped from 176 to 59. In the same period, the number of probable deaths per million per day among African American Michiganders dropped significantly – from 21.7 to 1.   

“As a member of the Michigan Task Force on Racial Disparities, I am proud of the hard work we have done to protect communities of color from the spread of COVID-19,” said M. Roy WilsonTask Force Member and president of Wayne State University. “I want to thank Governor Whitmer and Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist for their leadership as we have fought to eliminate this virus. Our work on the task force is far from over, but the data is clear – we have taken swift, meaningful action to protect Michigan’s most vulnerable communities and save lives, and we will continue to do so until this fight is over.” 

“When it became clear that the Black community was disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Whitmer and her administration took crucial action to eliminate that disparity and save lives,” said Maureen TaylorTask Force member and state chair of the Michigan Welfare Rights Organization. “Michigan has been recognized as a nationwide leader in addressing health disparities that have come to light as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic because the governor and lieutenant governor have dedicated themselves to ensuring equitable support for our most vulnerable communities throughout this crisis. We have made great strides, but we will remain vigilant and work day and night to protect the Black community from COVID-19 until this virus is gone for good.” 

“It’s clear that the work of this task force, created by Governor Whitmer and spearheaded by Lieutenant Governor Gilchrist, has made significant progress in protecting families, frontline workers, and small businesses in communities of color,” said Celeste Sanchez LloydTask Force member and community program manager for Strong Beginnings at Spectrum Health. “As the weather gets colder and as we head into the holiday season, our most vulnerable communities will continue to need crucial support. We are committed to continuing to provide that support and work closely with the governor as she listens to health experts and takes a fact-based approach to ending the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

NEXT STEPS FOR THE TASK FORCE 

In order to sustain the progress made and to better address ongoing disparities, the Task Force will continue working around the clock to protect our most vulnerable communities. The Task Force has identified a number of areas to focus on as we head into the holiday season and the cold winter months, including: 

  • Closing the digital divide in telehealth and virtual learning to ensure equitable access for all Michiganders; 
  • Increasing enrollment in health insurance plans by making it easy for Michiganders to find out about their options for affordable care, such as Medicaid and federal marketplace plans; 
  • Building mobile testing infrastructure that can also be extended for other health services such as vaccine administration; 
  • And raising awareness of racial- and ethnic disparities in medical care to ensure that every Michigander, no matter their race, can get safe and quality care in Michigan. 

The Task Force has already taken steps to address these issues, and will continue working toward these goals as the State of Michigan continues to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Michigan COVID-19 Task Force on Racial Disparities consists of a variety of leaders from government, academia, and the private sector, health care, economic development, education, and other disciplines. Click here to learn more about the Task Force. 

To view the Task Force’s full interim report, click the link below: 

L.A. County Targets Rising Hate Crimes

Artists depict Los Angeles communities uniting against hate crimes as part of L.A. vs. Hate.

By MARK HEDIN, Ethnic Media Services

Los Angeles city and county officials, educators, health care providers and community-based organizations are teaming up to provide resources against hate crimes, a problem worsened by the stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic.

To highlight this effort, a group of city and county officials and private sector executives announced the first “United Against Hate Week” on Nov. 30. The campaign comes less than a year after the county introduced the nation’s first hate-crime hotline, 211. In its first six months of operation, 13% of the calls to 211 were COVID-related.

“Hate is on the rise nationally, not just in our region,” said Robin Toma, director of the county Commission on Human Relations. An FBI report released in mid-November found that 2019 had the most hate crimes recorded in more than 10 years, and the most hate-motivated killings since the 1990s.

“This has been a tough year in many ways,” Toma said. “We know that this is a time of anxiety and fear that can lead to scapegoating and stereotyping.” But at the same time, he said, people are standing up for each other and their communities. The campaign is looking forward to bringing together millions of people in that effort.

Debra Duardo, superintendent of the county’s Office of Education, which oversees 80 school districts, emphasized students “knowing that they’re welcomed, loved and included. Making sure that bullying is never ignored, always addressed and never tolerated.

“The earlier we start, the better,” she said. That means that education should be inclusive of a multicultural community in its subject matter, such as ethnic studies, in a faculty that reflects the community, in empowering our children to love themselves and their culture, to know their culture and to teach empathy and relationship-building, sometimes beginning as early as preschool.”

It’s not only the right thing to do, said Maria Salinas of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, it’s good business to help ensure “a safe, inclusive and respectful workplace.

“This is our future workforce. The most important infrastructure that business has is people,” she said.

“It’s something we are going to have to deal with for a long time,” cautioned Capri Maddox, the first director of Los Angeles’ new (city) Department of Civil and Human Rights. The LGBTQ and Asian American Pacific Islander communities are particular targets, she said, but cited also, as recently as the Saturday after the Nov. 3 election when Joe Biden was declared president-elect, having to respond to hateful imagery painted at the large African American church of which she herself is a member.

John Baackes, CEO of L.A. Care, which has 2.3 million members in the county, cited the toll that the stresses of hate and intolerance add to people’s burdens and also called for increased emphasis on mental health care.

Toma emphasized that the 211 line is not just for reporting incidents, but also a guaranteed portal for getting help. “Anyone who calls 211 will get an offer of assistance,” he said, adding that although “we know that many more acts occur than are reported,” the 211 line is “not just reporting.”

Although many calls do result in police interventions, there are also dozens of community organizations that provide assistance. The line is open 24 hours every day and speakers of any language can use it.

The United Against Hate Week program, endorsed so far by 25 cities, features workshops, screenings, concerts and art installations up and down the state. A list is available at https://unitedagainsthateweek.org/find-events.

The campaign’s website, LAvsHate.org, offers an array of downloadable graphics, some tailored to specific communities, available for sharing.

CSC WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS

CSC WELCOMES NEW MEMBERS TO ITS BOARD OF DIRECTORS – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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Obama, Bush and Clinton say they’ll get vaccine publicly to prove safety

By  Zack Budryk

Former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton are offering to publicly take the COVID-19 vaccine to prove its safety and encourage Americans to be inoculated.

Former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton
Former Presidents Obama, George W. Bush and Clinton

“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials. And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same,” the 42nd president’s press secretary, Angel Urena, told CNN.

“A few weeks ago President Bush asked me to let Dr. [Anthony] Fauci and Dr. [Deborah] Birx know that, when the time is right, he wants to do what he can to help encourage his fellow citizens to get vaccinated,” Freddy Ford, chief of staff to Bush, told the network. “First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations. Then, President Bush will get in line for his, and will gladly do so on camera.”

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Obama, meanwhile, told SiriusXM host Joe Madison this week that he trusted the safety and efficacy of any vaccine that received Fauci’s seal of approval.

“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 added that he would be willing to take the vaccine on live television. The former president added that it was necessary to destigmatize vaccinations among parts of the Black community, in particular.

“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, referencing a notorious study in which syphilis cases in Black men were deliberately left untreated and concealed from them.

“But the fact of the matter is, is that vaccines are why we don’t have polio anymore. And they’re the reason why we don’t have a whole bunch of kids dying from measles, and smallpox and diseases that used to decimate entire populations and communities,” he added.

The first vaccines for the virus are expected to receive emergency use authorization in the U.S. this month. Officials have said the first doses will go to front-line health care workers and at-risk populations. The Hill.

UC Berkeley project publishes list of Bay Area cities ranked by severity of segregation

The UC Berkeley Othering and Belonging Institute recently published a report ranking 101 Bay Area cities from most to least segregated.

The report, titled “The Most Segregated (and Integrated) Cities in the SF Bay Area,” is an addendum to the Racial Segregation in the San Francisco Bay Area project, a recently completed five-part series examining residential segregation within the Bay Area.

Launched in 2018, the project was conducted by Othering and Belonging Institute director of research Stephen Menendian, program manager Samir Gambhir, and fair housing coordinator Arthur Gailes.

“Our immediate purpose in this brief is to illustrate vividly patterns of segregation within the Bay Area utilizing compelling maps and data analysis, thereby drawing greater and more detailed attention to a problem that has remained stubbornly persistent,” the report states.

There are many forms of segregation that can affect communities, Menendian said. In the South, segregation was historically focused on public accommodations, such as bathrooms and bus seats. Segregation in the North, on the other hand, was predominantly residential. California has followed the North in this regard, he noted.

“California didn’t explicitly segregate parks and pools, but it used mechanisms to achieve the same result,” Menendian said. “Redlining prohibited African Americans from moving into certain neighborhoods, and that led to residential segregation.”

“The Most Segregated (and Integrated) Cities in the SF Bay Area” uses the “divergence index” to rank cities by their level of segregation. The divergence index measures segregation by comparing a local geography to a larger geography, Menendian said. 

East Palo Alto is the most segregated city in the region, the report found. According to Menendian, this is because redlining has prevented Black families from living in the surrounding suburbs, forcing them to settle in East Palo Alto. East Palo Alto eventually also experienced an influx of Hispanic residents, he added.

“It is now predominantly Hispanic, but still has a significant African American population, but it’s the most segregated city in the Bay Area because of its history — its racial history,” Menendian said.

Other than East Palo Alto, white suburbs are primarily the most segregated cities in the Bay Area with a heavy concentration in Marin and San Mateo counties, Menendian said.

The upper middle of the list significantly consists of “affluent exclusionary white suburbs” in counties such as Contra Costa and Alameda, he added.

According to Menendian, residential segregation is one of the root causes of racial inequity. Where people live determines the quality of their schools, their access to employment and their proximity to public transit. It also determines exposure to pollution and disease, he noted.

Menendian said he believes that, although residential segregation is a key component of racial inequality, it has been sidelined in conversations around race and equity.

“No matter how much we reform the police or health care, we will never achieve racial justice in a segregated society — and that’s true for the Bay Area as well,” Menendian said.

Kelly Suth is a general assignment reporter. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @kellyannesuth.

Obama, Clinton, Bush Will Take COVID-19 Vaccine

Dec. 3, 2020 — Former Presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have said they will take a coronavirus vaccine once one is available, according to several news outlets.

All three also said they would be willing to record their immunization on video if it would build people’s confidence in vaccine safety, NPR reported.

“I promise you that when it’s been made for people who are less at risk, I will be taking it,” Obama told The Jose Madison Show on SiriusXM, which was posted on YouTube on Wednesday and will air in full on Thursday.

“I may end up taking it on TV or having it filmed, just so that people know that I trust this science,” he said. “What I don’t trust is getting COVID.”

Bush has also reached out to members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and offered to build public confidence in a vaccine, Freddy Ford, chief of staff for the former president, told CNN.

“First, the vaccines need to be deemed safe and administered to the priority populations,” he said. “Then, President Bush will get in line for his and will gladly do so on camera.”

Clinton is also willing to take a vaccine in public on TV if it would encourage Americans to get the immunization, Angel Urena, his press secretary, told CNN.

“President Clinton will definitely take a vaccine as soon as available to him, based on the priorities determined by public health officials,” she said. “And he will do it in a public setting if it will help urge all Americans to do the same.”

Current and former elected officials and public health experts have begun to announce their willingness to take a COVID-19 vaccine as the approval stage for FDA emergency use authorization draws closer. An independent advisory board is scheduled to vote on Pfizer’s vaccine candidate next week, and the FDA is expected to weigh in soon after that meeting. The advisory board and the FDA will likely vote on the Moderna vaccine during the following week. If approved, initial doses could go to states between mid- to late-December.

Several recent polls have found that many Americans are still deciding whether — and when — to get a COVID-19 vaccine when it’s their turn on the priority list. According to the latest Gallup poll from October, about 58% of Americans would take a vaccine, up from 50% in September.

People of color, who have been disproportionately impacted by the coronavirus, seem to be less willing to take a vaccine, according to the poll. During the SiriusXM interview, Obama said he understood the hesitation, particularly given past disparities in the health care system and the Tuskegee Study, which tested the long-term effects of syphilis in Black men without giving them the proper penicillin treatment.

“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.

“But the fact of the matter is that vaccines are why we don’t have polio anymore,” he said. “And they’re the reason why we don’t have a whole bunch of kids dying from measles and smallpox and diseases that used to decimate entire populations and communities.”

Obama also said he would take a vaccine if Anthony Fauci, MD, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it was safe. Fauci has said in recent interviews that he feels comfortable with how safe and effective the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are, and he will take one.

Obama also encouraged people who face high risks for contracting COVID-19 to get a vaccine.

“If you are in that category, if you are elderly, if you’ve got a preexisting condition, if you’re a front-line worker, if you’re a medical worker, if you are in a grocery store, if you’re a first responder, you should take that vaccine,” he said.

WebMD Health News Brief

Sources

NPR: “Obama, Bush, Clinton Say They’re Willing To Get Coronavirus Vaccine On Camera.”

CNN: “Former Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton volunteer to get coronavirus vaccine publicly to prove it’s safe.”

Gallup: “More Americans Now Willing to Get COVID-19 Vaccine.”

© 2020 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

Black Americans Are Reportedly More Skeptical Than Other Ethnic Groups About Vaccine Safety

A significant number of black Americans are skeptical about the coronavirus vaccine, a feeling that some attribute to past injustices carried out by the medical system, ABC reported.

Scientists and physicians are stepping up their efforts to reach black and other minority communities in an effort to build trust and inform about vaccine information. Because participation in the vaccine program is essential to helping stop the spread of the coronavirus, which has disproportionately impacted minority communities, there is a lot of work still to be done to encourage these groups to get the vaccine, according to ABC.

Anthony Williams, a cancer biologist at the University of Chicago, told ABC that before he participated in vaccine trials, relatives asked him why he would trust the medical system given past indignities brought against black people by medical professionals. 

Compared with whites and Hispanics, blacks are less likely to get a first-generation vaccine, with only 26% reporting that they would do so, according to an Axios-Ipsos poll, while 55% of whites and 54% of Hispanics said it was likely they would get vaccinated. Blacks were more concerned than other surveyed ethnic groups about the safety of a vaccine, and were 19 points less likely than Latino adults to be confident that a vaccine was tested for safety and effectiveness within their community. Trust in the government and perceived social pressure also influenced these views. 

While states have not been given a firm date of the vaccine’s rollout, they are preparing to receive them as early as Dec. 11, the day after a meeting focused on authorization of the vaccine

More than 40 million doses of the vaccine are anticipated to be ready by the end of 2020, and groups like frontline health care workers, and residents of long-term care facilities will be among the first to receive the vaccine. To calm skepticism that may exist among Americans, former presidents Barack Obama, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton have announced that they would take the vaccine produced by Operation Warp Speed on camera to prove its safety. (RELATED: Obama, Bush And Clinton Say They’ll Take Coronavirus Vaccine ‘On Camera’ To Prove Its Safety)

But many minorities who work in long-term care facilities may be eligible to receive the vaccine before most Americans who don’t work in high-risk environments or aren’t vulnerable to the virus. While doctors and nurses who treat patients directly will be among the first to receive the vaccine, house-cleaning staff and those who work in food delivery at hospitals are also included in a Centers for Disease Control advisory committee recommendation for the rollout. 

“We understand that underprivileged minority populations, lower-paid individuals are in that group,” he added. “And so, because of that, that expands the equitability of the recommendation,” Dr. José Romero, the chair of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) told ABC.

Until the rollout, word of mouth may be a powerful strategy that could build trust among minority communities skeptical about the vaccine. Racial concordance between physician and patient, for example, is one way trust can be improved. Pre-existing bonds developed in gathering places like churches or barber shops could also bolster minority representation.

Pfizer’s vaccine candidate was the first of three that showed to be at least 90% effective in clinical trials, preceding vaccines from Moderna and AstraZeneca. 

Moderna announced Monday that it would ask the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for approval after its large-scale human trial concluded and showed the company’s vaccine to have an overall efficacy of 94.1%, according to NBC News. The vaccine was found to be 100% effective in preventing severe cases of coronavirus, according to Moderna.

HHS Outlines New Plans and a Partnership to Reduce U.S. Pregnancy-related Deaths

HHS Outlines New Plans and a Partnership to Reduce U.S. Pregnancy-related Deaths – African American News Today – EIN Presswire

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