Updated, with Rodrigo comment and PSA: Singer-actress Olivia Rodrigo appeared at the White House daily briefing on Wednesday as she visited the West Wing to meet with President Joe Biden and Anthony Fauci, and to record videos promoting vaccinations among young people.
“I’m in awe of the work that President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and I was happy to lend my support to this important initiative,” she told reporters. “It’s important to have conversations with friend and family members, encouraging all communities to get vaccinated, and to get to a vaccination site, which you can do more easily than ever before.”
This will be the latest White House effort to tap pop culture figures as a way of promoting the vaccines. There is increasing concern over the spread of the Delta variant, leading to a rise in cases in some areas of the U.S. with a significant percentage of the population unvaccinated.
“Our work to reach young people where they are with information about the safety and efficacy of the vaccine, includes the President’s participation in the YouTube Town Hall with Dr. Fauci which drove millions of views to young people around vaccination efforts,” the White House official said.
Fauci, the president’s chief medical adviser and director of the U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, also has done TikTok videos, and in May, Vice President Kamala Harris hosted a virtual gathering with celebrities such as Camila Cabelo, Kim Kardashian, Joe Jonas and Karlie Kloss, among others, to talk about the importance of getting the vaccine.
A big reason for tapping pop culture figures is their social media reach. The White House noted that Rodrigo has 28 million followers across her channels. The videos also will be featured on White House social media accounts.
At the briefing, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said that they would continue to work with partners in states “to ensure that we are pushing back against misinformation, that we are conveying accurately that the vast majority, 99.5% of people who are going to hospitals are not vaccinated, and ensuring that we are using every tool at our disposal.”
Surgeon General Vivek Murthy plans to address vaccine misinformation in an appearance in the briefing room on Thursday. Media personalities on the right, including Tucker Carlson, Lara Trump and Laura Ingraham, have pushed doubts about the vaccines. “It makes you think, once you think about it, that maybe none of this is really about COVID. Maybe it’s about social control,” Carlson said on a recent show. He contends that the government is trying to “ban discussion” about the drug, even though the pushback to his commentaries has been that he is pushing misinformation.
Biden promoted Rodrigo’s visit on his Twitter account.
Olivia Rodrigo is stopping by the White House today with a clear message to young people: get vaccinated. It’s the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the dangerous new COVID-19 variants. Head to https://t.co/4MYpWqXVVo to find a clinic near you.
— President Biden (@POTUS) July 14, 2021
White House photographers also captured Rodrigo’s very high heels.
Singer Olivia Rodrigo walks into the West Wing of the White House to help promote the COVID vaccine with administration officials. pic.twitter.com/U7NzCyrReI
— Evan Vucci (@evanvucci) July 14, 2021
Update: Rodrigo’s vaccine PSA is here.
Olivia Rodrigo is at the White House today to meet with President Biden and Dr. Fauci and discuss the importance of young Americans getting vaccinated. pic.twitter.com/s95KtOkrsF
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) July 14, 2021
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