How Past American Presidents Have Spoken About Vaccines

During times of crisis in the United States and around the world, many people turn to the President of the United States for leadership and comfort. The President is usually tasked with informing the public of the situation and how it is being addressed. This has been the case during the COVID-19 pandemic. President Trump has held nearly daily press briefing, informing the public of the actions being taken by the US Government. While we do not yet have a vaccine against the novel coronavirus, the President has been talking about the funding and planning for one.

So how have other presidents addressed biological threats and the eventual vaccines that have been developed to address those threats?

Here is a collection of sights and sounds of past American presidents talking about vaccines. First, President Dwight D. Eisenhower talks about the Salk polio vaccine, a vaccine developed in the mid-1950s to address the periodic epidemics of polio that assailed American children.

Next, we have President Barack Obama talking about the H1N1 influenza vaccine developed in the fall of 2009 in response to the pandemic.

In 1976, President Gerald Ford signs a bill to fund a flu vaccination program when a swine flu strain threatened to be a pandemic strain. (It wasn’t.)

Next, President Bill Clinton talks about the search for an HIV vaccine.

Author: René F. Najera, DrPH

I am the editor of the History of Vaccines site, an online project by the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. All opinions expressed on these blog posts are not necessarily those of the College or any of my employers. Check out my professional profile on LinkedIn: Feel free to follow me on Twitter: @EpiRen