Popular singer Olivia Rodrigo and her "driver's license" headed to Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as part of the Biden administration's effort to push for young people to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Speaking from behind the iconic podium in the James S. Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House, Rodrigo said she was "honored and humbled to be here today to help spread the message about the importance of youth vaccination."
"I am in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and was happy to help lend my support to this important initiative," she continued. "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."
"Olivia Rodrigo is stopping by the White House today with a clear message to young people: get vaccinated," Biden wrote on Twitter Wednesday. "It’s the best way to keep yourself and your loved ones safe from the dangerous new COVID-19 variants."
The "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series" star first confirmed the news in a comment on the official @POTUS Instagram account.
"I know this young person would’ve gotten vaccinated, but we’ve got to get other young people protected as well," President Joe Biden wrote in the post caption, alongside a picture of himself as a young man. "Who’s willing to help?"
Rodrigo commented: "i’m in! see you tomorrow at the white house."
The White House announcedTuesday that she will meet with President Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert, "and record videos about the importance of young people getting vaccinated, including answering important questions young people have about getting vaccinated."
Those videos will be featured on Rodrigo's social media channels, where she boasts a following of more than 28 million, including more than 14.3 million on Instagram alone.
Rodrigo's debut album, "SOUR," was released in May and featured three singles that topped the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart – it was the first debut album in history to see two songs ('good 4 u,' 'drivers license') top the Billboard Hot 100 chart, and only the fourth album overall to do so. Only Mariah Carey's "Daydream," Drake's "Scorpion" and Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" held the honor, and all three were released later in those artists' careers.
Rodrigo is also the first artist to have three singles ('good 4 u,' 'drivers license,' 'deja vu') debut in the Top 10 of the Hot 100 chart – and all three songs are certified platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America, with 'drivers license' going 3x platinum. Prior to the release of Sour, Rodrigo made her debut on the Hot 100 chart with the song "All I Want" from "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The Soundtrack."
SOUR's 385 million streams on Spotify made for the biggest opening week for an album by a female artist in the streamer's history, shattering the record set by Ariana Grande's "Thank U, Next" in 2019, and the best opening week for a debut album by a female artist since Cardi B's Invasion of Privacy from 2018.
Rodrigo's visit is part of the White House's efforts to get more young people vaccinated, "including working with schools, pediatricians, summer camps, and leveraging social media and celebrity influencers."
"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," according to a White House official. "Dr. Fauci has also participated in several Tik Tok QAs with young influencers. The Vice President hosted a meeting with dozens of social media influencers about the vaccines. The White House has worked with gaming platforms to elevate the importance of vaccinations."
More than 159 million Americans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 48% of the U.S. population, but vaccinations are lagging among young people.
According to a CDC report released last month, about 38% of people age 18–29 had received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine as of May 22, 2021, the lowest such age group.
COVID-19 vaccinations are available for Americans 12 years of age and older.
In a speech last week, President Biden said that the rapidly spreading delta variant of the coronavirus "should cause everybody to think twice" about getting vaccinated.
"And it should cause reconsideration, especially in young people who may have thought that they didn’t have to be vaccinated, didn’t have to worry about it, didn’t have to do anything about it up to now," the president continued. "But the good news is that our vaccinations are highly effective. Fully vaccinated Americans have a high degree of protection, including against this delta variant."
"Study after study after study has shown that, since early May, virtually every COVID-19 hospitalization and death in the United States has been among the unvaccinated," Biden said, adding: "So, if you’re vaccinated, you’re protected. But if you’re unvaccinated, you’re not, and you’re putting yourself and more importantly maybe, from your perspective, your family and your friends at risk."