First Lady Dr. Jill Biden visited a pediatric vaccine clinic at Washington, D.C.’s Children’s National Hospital on Wednesday, her third such visit to a vaccination center since U.S. health officials approved Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5-11.
“To all the kids getting your shots: You are the real heroes,” Dr. Biden said after she toured the vaccination clinic and visited with families as children got their shots. The first lady then went on to address the parents whose children waited over 18 months to receive a vaccine against the coronavirus.
“The president and I know how difficult this has been for you and your family,” she said. “And I'm here today because we care about you and your children. Joe and our team have been working every day to give you what you need to keep your family safe in this pandemic.”
The clinic aims to vaccinate between 40-50 children at the clinic on Wednesday alone; Children’s National also operates 23 pediatric vaccination clinics at locations near Washington and in Maryland, and have been offering mobile vaccination pop-ups at area elementary schools.
By the end of the day, federal health officials expect over 2.6 million children will have gotten their COVID-19 vaccine, which accounts for nearly 10% of the 28 million kids in that age group.
The children getting vaccinated at Children’s National on Wednesday were surprised not only by the first lady, but also two of Washington’s pro athletes: Thomas Bryant, an NBA player for the Washington Wizards, and Alysha Clark, a WNBA player for the Washington Mystics.
“Today we've assembled some very special guests to help spread the word-of-mouth about vaccines: Captain America and Cinderella,” Dr. Biden said, pointing out individuals dressed as the characters. “We also have two people here who only seem superhuman: Alicia and Thomas.”
In her own remarks, Clark commended the children for their bravery, saying she isn’t a fan of needles herself.
“I just want to applaud each and every one of you for taking the step today to trust the science and medical professionals who have been working around the clock to extensively research and find a way for us to get on the other side of this pandemic,” Clark said. “I know today is a big deal.”
Bryant and Clark weren’t the only high-profile guests who met with the first lady on Wednesday.
Earlier in the day, Dr. Biden welcomed “Body Party” singer Ciara and her children Sienna Princess, 4, Future Zahir, 7, and Win Harrison, 1, to the White House. President Joe Biden greeted the group from the lawn ahead of his departure to Michigan, where he will tour an electric vehicle production plant and deliver remarks on his recently-signed infrastructure bill.
East Wing spokesman Michael LaRosa said Ciara and the first lady were "filming a digital product encouraging pediatric vaccines.”