Pop star Olivia Rodrigo sings on her debut album that she cannot parallel park, but the singer was at the White House on Wednesday for a different kind of drive — partnering with the White House to get more young people vaccinated against Covid-19.
The “good 4 u” singer briefly addressed the media at Wednesday afternoon's press briefing, part of a White House visit where she is scheduled to meet with the nation's top infectious disease expert, Anthony Fauci, and President Joe Biden.
“I’m in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and was happy to lend my support to this important initiative,” Rodrigo said, directing viewers to the federal government’s vaccine website, vaccines.gov.
Rodrigo's plan to visit the White House went public on Tuesday via Instagram, when the singer commented that she was excited to see the White House on a photo of the president as a young man. Biden, Rodrigo and Fauci are expected to produce videos to be posted to Rodrigo's and Biden administration social media accounts promoting vaccination among young people.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki applauded the singer for using her public platform — she has 14.4 million followers on Instagram and 9.4 million followers on TikTok — to tell young people that Covid-19 vaccines are safe and effective.
“Her willingness to use her voice and her platform to speak directly to young people is quite powerful and we’re grateful for her time and effort,” Psaki said.
After an initial wave of vaccinations, the Biden administration has struggled to maintain a steady pace of shots in arms, falling short earlier this month of the president's self-imposed goal of reaching 70 percent of eligible Americans by the July Fourth holiday. Young Americans have thus far had the lowest vaccination rates of all eligible age groups so far.
After the Pfizer vaccine was made available for children under 18 in May, 37 percent of residents age 12 to 17 have gotten at least one dose. And though they have long been eligible, only 38 percent of 18 to 29-year-olds have received at least one dose.
While Rodrigo is the one of the youngest and highest-profile celebrities to join forces with the White House, others from the music world have used their public profiles to combat the pandemic, including the rapper Juvenile, who recently released a remix of his 1999 hit “Back that Thang Up” as a vaccination PSA.
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