Why seeing Presidents Obama, Bush and Clinton get the COVID-19 vaccine on live TV matters

With vaccine rollouts for the novel coronavirus on the horizon, humanity is getting its first ray of hope for a return to normalcy in 2021. That normalcy, however, will depend on enough people's willingness to get the vaccine to achieve some level of herd immunity. While some people are ready to jump in line immediately for the vaccine, others are reticent to get the shots.

Hesitancy runs the gamut from outright anti-vaxxers to people who trust the time-tested vaccines we already have but are unsure about these new ones. Scientists have tried to educate the public about the development of the new mRNA vaccines and why they feel confident in their safety, but getting that information through the noise of hot takes and misinformation is tricky.

To help increase the public's confidence in taking the vaccine, three former presidents have volunteered to get their shots on camera. President George W. Bush initially reached out to Dr. Fauci and Dr. Birx to ask how he could help promote a vaccine once it's approved. Presidents Obama and Bill Clinton have both stated that they will take the vaccine if it is approved and will do so publicly if it will help more people feel comfortable taking it. CNN says it has also reached out to President Jimmy Carter to see if he is on board with the idea as well.

A big part of responsible leadership is setting an example. Though these presidents are no longer in the position of power they once held, they are in a position of influence and have offered to use that influence for the greater good.


Of course, some will call the former presidents Deep State actors, or puppets for the pedophile cabal, or co-conspirators in Bill Gates' and George Soros' evil plot to destroy humanity, or or some other paranoid, tinfoil hat goofiness. But for the folks living in normal reality, such bipartisan examples of leadership and solidarity with the American people will be appreciated.

And for those who doubt that it will make a difference, remember that Princess Diana's simple act of hugging a child with AIDS sparked a sea change in public perception of people who were HIV-positive. Seeing her fearless compassion, even for a photo op, made a difference in the way society viewed HIV and AIDS.

Vaccine reticence isn't new, and some of it is understandable. In 1976, a new strain of H1N1 (swine flu) prompted President Gerald Ford to push a mass vaccination program that was halted after it was discovered that the vaccine was associated with a small increase in Guillain-Barré Syndrome. Of the 45 million Americans who received the vaccine, 450 developed the syndrome—a tiny percentage, but enough to undermine public trust.

As Dr. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's emergencies program, pointed out early in the pandemic, the only thing worse than a pandemic would be a bad vaccine. But the accelerated development and trialing of the vaccines that are currently being evaluated does not mean they have been rushed or are unsafe. Obviously, scientists have wanted to get a vaccine made and distributed as quickly as possible—but also as safely as possible. And while it's tempting to assume that a vaccine being rolled out in a little less than a year means it's risky, since the process usually takes much longer, that really is just an assumption.

The reality is that the virus itself is risky, both in the potential for death as well as long-term health impacts. And while impressively quick, the vaccines we're seeing will have gone through sufficient trials to put most people's fears to rest. While people fret about not knowing the long-term effects of the vaccine, Dr. Fauci stated in an interview with the Washington Post that in 90 to 95 percent of the vaccines we already have, long-term adverse effects have revealed themselves in the first 30 to 45 days. While vaccines will continue to be monitored for a year or two to see if anything unexpected pops up, Fauci says he feels confident in recommending everyone get the vaccine once it's approved by the FDA.

"The speed was based on very exquisite, scientific advances and an enormous amount of resources that were put into Operation Warp Speed to make this happen," Fauci said. "There was no compromise of safety, nor was there compromise of scientific integrity."

"I can tell you when my turn comes up and the FDA says that this is safe and effective, I, myself, will get vaccinated and I will recommend that my family gets vaccinated," he added.

Our understanding of science, immunology, and vaccine development has improved greatly in the past 50 years. So have the protocols, regulations, and approval processes for safety and efficacy. The whole point of having institutions and independent monitoring boards and transparency is to make sure things are being done as safely as possible.

Hopefully, our trust in science, understanding of the risks of COVID-19, and example set by leadership in our country will prompt enough people to get vaccinated so we can finally make our way to the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel.


Pexels
True
Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

True

If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.