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Dr. Fauci, former president Obama visit DC elementary school to encourage vaccinations

Together, they spread the word about the safety and efficacy of vaccines.

WASHINGTON — Dr. Anthony Fauci brought his campaign to get kids vaccinated to a D.C. school on Tuesday.

He was joined at Kimball Elementary School by a surprise guest - former President Barack Obama.

Together, they spread the word about the safety and efficacy of the vaccines, and encouraged parents to get shots for their children. 

Afterward, the former president exchanged fist bumps with the kids in the Southeast school and passed out stickers.

With the emergence of the omicron variant, experts say getting vaccinated is important.

RELATED: Omicron variant: Don’t wait to get a booster shot, doctors say

Scientists say every new COVID-19 infection opens the door to mutation. Vaccinating a massive part of the population limits those opportunities.

Researchers disagree on how much kids have influenced the course of the pandemic. Early research suggested they didn’t contribute much to viral spread. But some experts say children played a significant role this year spreading contagious variants such as alpha and delta.

RELATED: How COVID shots for kids help prevent dangerous new variants

Getting kids vaccinated could make a real difference going forward, according to estimates by the COVID-19 Scenario Modeling Hub, a collection of university and medical research organizations that consolidates models of how the pandemic may unfold. The hub's latest estimates show that for this November through March 12, 2022, vaccinating 5- to 11-year-olds would avert about 430,000 COVID cases in the overall U.S. population if no new variant arose. If a variant 50% more transmissible than delta showed up in late fall, 860,000 cases would be averted, “a big impact,” said project co-leader Katriona Shea, of Pennsylvania State University.

RELATED: President: Vaccine is best defense against Omicron variant of COVID-19

RELATED: Scheduled a COVID-19 vaccine for your child? Here's what you need to look out for

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