WASHINGTON — Teen pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo will visit the White House Wednesday as part of the administration’s effort to promote vaccinations to young Americans.
According to a White House official, the 18-year-old former Disney Channel star will meet with President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci to film videos stressing why it's important for young people to be vaccinated, incorporating a question-and-answer format.
Rodrigo, known for her meteoric rise on the teen pop scene with music detailing heartbreak and empowerment, boasts an expansive following, particularly with members of Gen Z. The videos will be featured on her social platforms, which are followed by over 28 million people, as well as the various White House social media channels.
Health officials have increasingly focused on vaccine-hesitant younger Americans, who do not face as much danger from severe symptoms of COVID-19 as older people but are critical to the goal of achieving herd immunity. This is especially true in the face of the highly contagious Delta variant, which is devastating less vaccinated communities in the U.S.
Recent NBCLX/Morning Consult polling found that adults between 18 and 34 are the “most likely generation to say they will either not get vaccinated (23%) or don’t yet know (21%), with Gen Z adults (18-23) particularly disinterested.”
As key pockets of Americans continue to decline available vaccination, the Biden administration will have increasing difficulty hitting herd immunity benchmarks, further delaying its goal of getting the country back to a pre-pandemic normal.
The White House has amassed an all-hands-on-deck strategy to reverse course. The administration previously partnered with popular YouTubers from both the outdoor and makeup communities to get out the word about vaccines to Gen Z. It also partnered with the dating app Bumble to add a feature that allows users to identify their vaccination status.
“I think it’s an obligation, an obligation to make sure that even if it’s an even small percentage possibility that you could be a carrier and spread the disease, that you have an obligation,” Biden told one YouTube creator during his series of interviews in the spring, adding that Gen Z is “the most generous, the most informed, the most caring generation coming up.”
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