Ciara to promote Covid-19 vaccination for kids as the White House looks to level up child vaccine rates
By Betsy Klein, CNN
(CNN) -- First lady Jill Biden welcomed music star Ciara to the White House Wednesday to discuss the 1, 2 Step process of getting kids vaccinated against Covid-19 as the nation works to Level Up its vaccination rates.
The first lady and Ciara will hold a conversation aimed at encouraging children ages 5 to 11 years old to receive a Covid-19 vaccine, part of Biden's ongoing work toward promoting child vaccinations. The conversation, a White House official told CNN, will be shared across Ciara and the White House's social media platforms. Ciara, the first official noted, has an audience of 58 million followers on social media.
"We are continuing to meet people where they are today. And today, we're also happy to welcome the singer and philanthropist Ciara to the White House, where she will participate in a roundtable about getting vaccinated with first lady Dr. Jill Biden," US Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy told reporters at the Covid-19 response team briefing.
The Grammy-winning artist, who is married to Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, was spotted with her three children -- son Win, 1, daughter Sienna, 4, and son Future, 7 -- posing for a photo outside the West Wing.
Later, the group was seen standing on a balcony with the first lady to watch President Joe Biden's White House South Lawn helicopter departure for a trip to Detroit. The President jogged over to greet them before boarding Marine One.
After the meeting, Ciara said she was hoping to educate more people through her visit.
"I think, you know, being educated in this process is really important, because I think that will make a difference for parents and them feeling more comfortable to take a leap of faith basically," Ciara told reporters, adding that Future was vaccinated for Covid-19 just two days ago.
"He walked in, excited and a little nervous, but he was excited, because a lot of his classmates have gotten vaccinated," Ciara said. "So, you know, it was really cool to be on that journey with him, being a mom and you know, seeing it through his eyes, I think, was amazing as well. And I think the ultimate goal was to end this thing, you know, and for us all to feel more safe and how to add a layer protection."
The effort comes as the administration continues its work to combat vaccine misinformation, including from other celebrities with large social media platforms, as the vaccination rollout enters the new phase of getting the nation's youngest, most newly eligible cohort vaccinated. The White House has previously worked with pop star Olivia Rodrigo and TikTok influencer Benny Drama to promote vaccines as safe and effective.
US child vaccine rates have accelerated since the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky endorsed a recommendation to vaccinate children ages 5-11 against Covid-19 with Pfizer's two-dose course earlier this month.
And there has been progress: the White House estimates by the end of Wednesday, about 10% of children ages 5 to 11, or 2.6 million children, will have received their first Covid-19 vaccine shot, according to White House Covid-19 response coordinator Jeff Zients.
The first lady is in the midst of a nationwide child vaccine effort, making multiple trips and appearances, including a visit to a Children's National medical clinic later Wednesday, to encourage parents and guardians to get their children vaccinated.
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