WASHINGTON-- President Obama, who with his family departs this week for their annual vacation to his native Hawaii, was asked about his body surfing--and why African Americans should get the H1N1flu shot among other issues--during an interview with April Ryan, the White House correspondent for American Urban Radio Network.
Q Well, first of all, let's start off on a light note. You're preparing to go away to Hawaii for vacation, and everyone around here is talking about you body surfing. Is that a healthy thing to do?
THE PRESIDENT: It's a wonderful thing to do. I grew up doing it, love the ocean. I'll admit to you that the Secret Service these days does not like me doing it. The last time I tried it they had a bunch of people out on jet skis in the water and surrounding me with all kinds of stuff and it was a little distracting for the other swimmers. So I don't know if I'll get out there this year, but I tell you what I will definitely be enjoying some sun.
Q Now with the holidays we have cold season, we have, as you say, Chicago snow -- sniffles, coughs. And I understand possibly that you and your wife received the H1N1 shot this weekend. Is that true? And what would you say to the African American community and the brown community, the black and browns of this nation who are leery because of past history -- i.e., Tuskegee -- of getting the shot?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, first of all, people need to understand that this vaccine is safe. Malia and Sasha actually had it several months ago, right when it was first being made available to school-age children. That's the most important population because this flu, unlike seasonal flu, disproportionately affects children and young people -- healthy children and young people as well as people with underlying conditions like asthma or neurological diseases.