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Former Presidents Carter, Clinton, Bush and Obama and first ladies unite to urge Americans to get vaccinated

Former presidents call for unity in Inauguration Day video message
Former presidents call for unity, peaceful transition of power on Inauguration Day 03:01

The exclusive club of former presidents and first ladies has reunited with an important message: Get the COVID-19 vaccine. Missing from the campaign is former President Donald Trump and former first lady Melania Trump. 

In the newly released "It's Up To You" ad campaign, former presidents Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and former first ladies Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush and Michelle Obama, are emphasizing the importance of Americans getting the vaccine as soon as they are eligible. 

There are two ads in the new campaign. One shows the former presidents and first ladies receiving their vaccines and sharing personal anecdotes, and another features Mr. Clinton, Mr. Bush and Mr. Obama standing together in a direct address to the American people. 

"Soon they will be available to everyone," Mr. Bush says of the vaccine at the beginning of the first ad

"This vaccine means hope," Mr. Obama says next. "It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease."

Mr. Clinton says he wants to go back to work, Mr. Obama discusses being able to hug Michelle's mother and see her on her birthday and Mr. Bush shares his excitement for attending Opening Day at Texas Rangers Stadium — at full capacity

"I'm getting vaccinated because we want this pandemic to end as soon as possible," Mr. Carter says, although he does not appear on video. 

The ad ends with images of the former presidents and first ladies receiving their shots, concluding with a smiling photo of Mr. Carter holding his vaccine card. 

Former Presidents and First Ladies ‘It’s Up To You’ :60 | Ad Council and COVID Collaborative by Ad Council on YouTube

The second ad features Mr. Bush, Mr. Clinton and Mr. Obama standing together at Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Ceremony. The three former presidents united at Arlington on January 20 to mark President Biden's inauguration. 

"The science is clear, these vaccines will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease," Mr. Bush says. "So, we urge you to get vaccinated when it is available to you."

"They could save your life," Mr. Clinton adds.

"That's the first step to ending the pandemic and moving our country forward," Mr. Obama says. "It's up to you."

Mr. Trump and his wife did not participate in the campaign. Both received the coronavirus vaccine in January, but did not reveal they were vaccinated until weeks after leaving the White House. 

Former Presidents and COVID-19 Vaccine Facts | Ad Council and COVID Collaborative by Ad Council on YouTube

The public service announcements come just in time for the one-year anniversary of the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 a global pandemic. 

Hesitancy to get the vaccine remains a critical issue in the U.S., as the Biden administration ramps up its efforts to vaccinate 100 million Americans in President Biden's first 100 days in office. Mr. Biden will deliver a first primetime address to the nation Thursday night, marking the pandemic's anniversary. 

More than 525,000 Americans have died due to COVID-19, according to Johns Hopkins University.

More than 93.7 million vaccine doses have been administered as of Tuesday and 123.2 million shots have been delivered, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. More than 32 million Americans are fully vaccinated, and the U.S. is now averaging more than 2 million shots administered per day.

Emergency-use authorizations have so far been approved for the two-shot Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna vaccines and the single dose Johnson & Johnson shot. 

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