"I don't love getting a shot," the former president told the crowd. "But I do it because it's going to help keep me healthy"
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WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: Former U.S. President Barack Obama (C) and Dr. Anthony Fauci (L), Director of NIAID, talk with elementary school students as they prepare to get their second vaccine shots at the Kimball Elementary School on November 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Credit: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty

A group of students at a D.C. elementary school not only got the COVID-19 vaccine Tuesday — they also got an unexpected visit from former president Barack Obama

Obama, 60, surprised a group of children when he stopped by a vaccination clinic taking place at Kimball Elementary School in Southeast D.C., The Washington Post reports. Obama was joined by Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease expert. 

The former president handed out stickers to the group of five to 11-year-olds gathered at the clinic, The Independent reports, and even gave fist-bumps to the brave students after they received their vaccines.  

WASHINGTON, DC - NOVEMBER 30: Former U.S. President Barack Obama hugs a student while talking with elementary school students as they prepare to get their second vaccine shots at the Kimball Elementary School on November 30, 2021 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images)
Credit: Doug Mills-Pool/Getty

Speaking to over 50 people — students, plus their teachers and parents — Obama said, "We are just getting through the holiday season and we have one more thing to be thankful for, which is that we can get kids vaccinated if they're between the ages of 5 and 11," per the Post

He added, "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."

Obama also said that vaccines could hasten a return to normal activities that children haven't been able to enjoy during the pandemic.  

"It's also going to help keep schools open because the more kids are vaccinated, the less likely that we're going to have a covid outbreak in the schools," he said. "And that means our kids have a chance to learn together and socialize — you know, do all the things that you're supposed to be doing when you're 5 or 6 or 7 or 11."

Dr. Fauci delivered his own remarks to the crowd, telling them that the vaccines "are really going to protect you," and adding, "We know that from a lot of data, and a lot of experience we have."

Obama has been vocal about the importance of getting vaccinated since COVID-19 vaccines became available to the public earlier this year. The former president, who got vaccinated in March, has stopped by other vaccination sites and participated in a COVID-19 vaccine PSA with all living former presidents — except Donald Trump — to encourage Americans to get vaccinated. 

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"This vaccine means hope," Obama said in the PSA, which was released in early March. "It will protect you and those you love from this dangerous and deadly disease." 

Since Obama filmed the PSA, the CDC has updated its vaccine guidelines to better protect Americans against the evolving strains of the virus. With the discovery of the new Omicron variant, the agency now "strongly encourages" booster shots for all adults. 

In early November, Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine was approved for use in children under 12, making nearly all Americans eligible to receive the vaccine. 

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