WASHINGTON -- Pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo visited the White House on Wednesday to meet with President Joe Biden and his chief COVID-19 medical adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci, to record videos to encourage young people to get vaccinated against the novel coronavirus.
"I am beyond honored and humbled to be here today to help spread the message about the importance of youth vaccination," Rodrigo said from the White House press briefing room podium. Youth vaccination rates continue to lag significantly behind the general American population.
Rodrigo continued: "I'm in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and was happy to help lend my support to this important initiative. It's important to have conversations with friends and family members encouraging all communities to get vaccinated, and actually get to a vaccination site, which you can do more easily than ever before, given how many sites we have and how easy it is to find them at vaccines.gov."
The videos will be featured on the 18-year-old's social media channels as well as the White House's accounts. Rodrigo is the singer of hits "Drivers License," and "good 4 u," and has more than 28 million followers across her channels.
Rodrigo will "record videos about the importance of young people getting vaccinated, including answering important questions young people have about getting vaccinated," a White House official told CNN.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Wednesday that Rodrigo offered to come to the White House.
"We need to reach people, meet people where they are and speaking to young people -- people who are under the age of 18, many of whom as we've seen across the country are huge Olivia Rodrigo fans -- hearing from her that ... getting vaccinated is a way to keep yourself safe, a way to ensure you can see your friends, a way you can ensure you can go to concerts, a way you can ensure that you can live a healthy life is an important part of what we're trying to do here," Psaki told reporters at a White House briefing.
Psaki added: "I will say, not every 18-year-old uses their time to come do this so we appreciate her willingness to."
The visit comes as the White House ramps up its efforts to get young people vaccinated against COVID-19, particularly as the highly transmissible Delta variant spreads across the nation. The Delta variant now comprises more than half of the cases in the United States and is spreading in areas with low vaccination rates.
Rodrigo's visit to the White House was first announced on Instagram. Biden's account posted a photo of the President's younger self and wrote in the caption: "I know this young person would've gotten vaccinated, but we've got to get other young people protected as well. Who's willing to help?"
Rodrigo commented, "i'm in! see you tomorrow at the white house!"
Only a quarter of children ages 12 to 15 are fully vaccinated, which is less than any other eligible group, according to the latest data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That group became eligible to receive the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine two months ago.
As of Tuesday, 33.5% of Americans age 12 to 15 have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with 24.9% fully vaccinated, per CDC data. Forty-five and a half percent of Americans ages 16 and 17 have received at least one dose, with 37.1% fully vaccinated. And 50.5% of Americans ages 18 to 24 have had at least one dose, with 41.6% fully vaccinated, all of these younger groups far behind the national average of 48.1% fully vaccinated.
Biden recently announced his administration would be stepping up efforts to get vaccines to pediatricians and other providers who serve younger people so that adolescents ages 12 to 18 can get vaccinated as they go for check ups ahead of returning to school and/or starting fall sports.
As of Wednesday afternoon, 67.7% of US adults had at least one shot and 159.7 million adults were fully vaccinated, according to the CDC.
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