Olivia Rodrigo collaborates with Dr. Fauci for a ‘Mean Tweets’-inspired vaccine PSA
Who better to build bridges on behalf of President Biden than the queen of musical bridges herself, Olivia Rodrigo?
The president of Gen Z pop met with the president of the United States and his senior medical advisor, Dr. Anthony Fauci, this week as part of a calculated maneuver by the White House to convince young Americans that getting vaccinated against COVID-19 is good 4 u.
While visiting the nation’s capital, Rodrigo recorded a series of public service announcements outlining the rewards of protecting oneself and others against the coronavirus — as well as the dangers of going unvaccinated as the Delta variant continues to spread.
Shot inside the Oval Office, one video took a traditional approach, with a straightforward joint statement from the president and the chart-topping “Sour” artist on the “importance of getting vaccinated” — directed at “people Olivia’s age ... between the ages of 16 and 25.”
President Joe Biden invited ‘Drivers License’ hitmaker Olivia Rodrigo to the White House to help encourage her fellow youths to get vaccinated against COVID.
“We badly need you to get vaccinated — not only for your own sake and your own health, but for all those people around you,” Biden says in a clip posted Thursday. “It’s the right thing to do.”
Inspired by late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s wildly popular “Mean Tweets,” segment, another video — uploaded Friday morning — implemented a more lighthearted strategy, as 18-year-old Rodrigo and 80-year-old Fauci took turns reading "(Vaccine) Fan Tweets.”
“‘Did anyone else spend their Friday afternoon driving to their second vaccine appointment and crying to Olivia Rodrigo or was that just me?’” the singer-songwriter read.
“I love that. I’m so happy that I’m soundtracking your vaccine appointment. That’s great.”
On Wednesday, the “Drivers License” hitmaker looked happy and healthy while touring the West Wing in a presidential pink plaid ensemble before taking the White House lectern to address reporters during a daily press briefing.
‘Sour’ is 18-year-old Olivia Rodrigo’s debut album, following the chart-topping success of her first-ever single, ‘Drivers License.’
“I’m in awe of the work President Biden and Dr. Fauci have done and was happy to help lend my support to this important initiative,” Rodrigo said in a prepared statement.
“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.”
The “Good 4 U” performer arrived at the White House shortly after Biden invited her, via Instagram, to participate in the government’s vaccination efforts as a youth liaison. (Rodrigo’s popularity on TikTok, signature middle part and unapologetic teen angst have made her somewhat of a poster child for the Gen Z demographic and therefore the perfect candidate for such a position.)
Between filming content for the White House’s social media pages, Rodrigo and Biden were photographed in the Oval Office rocking matching pairs of aviator sunglasses for the ‘gram — as the kids say. On her government Instagram account, Vice President Kamala Harris also shared some candid snaps taken with the “Deja Vu” singer.
“I guess you didn’t mean what you wrote in that song about me,” Olivia Rodrigo sings in “Drivers License,” which is breaking streaming records left and right.
“Thanks for stopping by, Olivia, and for using your voice to urge young people to get vaccinated,” read the caption on the official @potus Instagram account. “If we all do our part and get the COVID-19 vaccine, we can defeat this virus once and for all. Let’s do this.”
“if you are young and not immunocompromised, getting your covid vaccination is the best thing you can do for your health and your loved ones’ health,” Rodrigo said in a caption on a selfie with the president. “YOU have the power to save lives. ... thank you to everyone who has done their part in helping end this pandemic.”
Rodrigo’s White House collab is part of a larger campaign launched by the government in recent months to increase vaccination rates for young Americans, which have lagged far behind those of other groups.
In an effort to persuade America’s youth to hop on the immunization train, the Executive Office has deployed everything from Walgreens gift cards and free concert tickets to TikTok videos and video game livestreams.
President Biden visits Raleigh, N.C., on Thursday to encourage inoculations against COVID-19 as vaccinations lag in red states and among young people.
Meanwhile, Fauci has been collaborating with Instagram influencers to disseminate information about vaccines to a wider, younger audience. The infectious-disease expert has also teamed up with a slew of prominent figures on TikTok, including actor Jennifer Garner and “Dance Moms” alumni Mackenzie Ziegler and Nia Sioux, for maximum exposure.
This isn’t the first time Team Biden has tapped Rodrigo in hopes of galvanizing America’s youth. Before the 2020 presidential election — back in the Pre-"Drivers License” Era (PDE) — the “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series” star joined forces with 20-year-old Maisy Biden, now the first granddaughter, to educate young Americans about voting and civic engagement.
“If you’re not of voting age, like me, there’s still so much that you can do,” said Rodrigo, then 17, while interviewing the president’s granddaughter, “so many conversations that you can have and ways that you can contribute and make your voice heard.”
Times staff writer Chris Megerian contributed to this report.
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