Obama Girls Get Swine Flu Shots
By Sheryl Gay Stolberg
The Obama daughters, Malia and Sasha, have gotten their swine flu shots.
The White House has been flooded with questions about whether the First Family has been vaccinated against H1N1, the swine flu virus. The administration posted the answer on its Web site Tuesday: President Obama and his wife Michelle will “wait until the needs of the priority groups” — including young people under 24, pregnant women and people with underlying illnesses — have been vaccinated. But Malia, 11, and Sasha, 8, fall within the priority groups, and they received their injections last week from the White House doctor, who applied for the vaccine through the District of Columbia Department of Health “using the same process as every other vaccination site in the District.”
The vaccinations are bound to raise questions about whether the Obama girls were given special treatment. The administration is grappling with questions about why the vaccine is not more readily available. Officials, including the secretary of heath and human services, Kathleen Sebelius, say the holdup is with the manufacturers, whose production process has been slower than anticipated.
But at the same time, the White House may be trying to set a positive example amid concerns about the vaccine’s safety. Sharing the news that the president has allowed his own daughters to receive the shots could assuage the fears of ordinary Americans who are wondering whether or not to get vaccinated.