Former President Barack Obama handed out stickers and complemented kids’ fashion choices as he visited a District of Columbia public school vaccine clinic with with White House chief medical adviser Dr Anthony Fauci.
Mr Obama, who is the first former president since Woodrow Wilson to remain a resident of the nation’s capital after his time in office, joined Dr Fauci on an outing to a vaccine site at Kimball Elementary School in southeast Washington as part of Biden administration push to encourage parents to vaccinate their children against Covid-19 ahead of the winter season.
The school was on Tuesday hosting a pop-up clinic targeted at children between five and 11 years of age who recently became eligible to receive age-appropriate doses of the Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine. The city-operated clinics allow parents to get their eligible children vaccinated without appointments.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health and Human Services, which organised the former president’s trip, said the event was meant “ to emphasise the importance of children getting vaccinated, spread the word about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and mobilise parents to get their children vaccinated”.
In brief remarks, Mr Obama called the ability to vaccinate kids against the coronavirus was “one more thing to be thankful for” this holiday season, adding that getting children vaccinated is important because it makes school-based outbreaks of Covid-19 less likely.
“I think it’s really important for everyone to be informed and to talk to an informed health care professional. Talk to your family doctor. Talk to your pediatrician and get the information you need to make an informed decision,” the former president said.
Addressing the children in the room, Mr Obama said: “Nobody really loves getting a shot. I don’t love getting a shot. But I do it because it’s going to help keep me healthy.”
The former president lingered at the clinic for some time after he finished speaking to hand out stickers to children who were queued up for their jabs.
One young girl engaged the onetime leader of the free world and best-selling author in a discussion of Dr Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham, before receiving fist-bump from the ex-commander in chief. Another girl’s sartorial choices drew the eye of Mr Obama, who complemented her on her “sparkly shoes”.
He also told a number of kids waiting outside the vaccination site that he was proud of them for getting vaccinated, and favorably compared one young girl’s dress to former first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.
“Very stylish,” he said. “Kinda ‘Jackie O’”.