The First Lady’s visit comes as Mississippi shows 35% fully vaccinated.
First Lady Jill Biden visited a vaccination site on the campus of Jackson State University in Mississippi’s capital city. She was accompanied by Mayor of Jackson Chokwe Antar Lumumba, his wife Ebony, and 2nd District Congressman Bennie Thompson. Several other local officials and state lawmakers were present as well.
The clinic at JSU is run by the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, a nonprofit health center and the largest federally qualified health center in Mississippi. The clinic’s vaccination event on Tuesday was the 14th hosted by JSU in their partnership with Jackson-Hinds.
Biden was introduced by Congressman Thompson who said her visit could help mitigate rumors in the community that are impacting low vaccination rates.
“You understand why she is here, because it’s so important, given the demographics of the population that is most vulnerable,” said Thompson.
When Dr. Biden arrived, she shook hands with several individuals who were receiving their first vaccine. Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine were offered at the clinic. Roughly 10 people were present at the time to receive a vaccination.
Dr. Biden, who earned her doctorate in 2007 in education leadership, gave remarks to a socially distanced crowd regarding how far America has come in the last year in fighting COVID-19. She said for many the vaccine has seemed like a miracle to restart life.
However, the First Lady acknowledged that there are still many people who have their doubts over the vaccine because of how quickly it was rolled out.
“I was surprised to learn that, while these vaccines might be new, the technology behind them isn’t at all. Scientists have been studying similar viruses and working on this type of vaccine for decades now. So, when the pandemic started, they already had a blueprint ready to go,” said Dr. Biden. “The vaccines might feel like a miracle, but there’s no faith required. They are the result of decades of rigorous scientific research and discoveries.”
Dr. Biden said she came to Mississippi to encourage the state’s residents to “get your shot.”
Mississippi has only had 35% of the state’s eligible population receive a vaccine, with Hinds County at the highest percentage with 39%. Currently, the CDC estimates that 64% of the country’s population has been vaccinated.
Biden finished her remarks with three reminders for the public. She assured them that the vaccine is safe, it’s effective, and it’s easy and free.
“If you still have questions – that’s OK! Talk to your doctor. This is your choice – so get the information you need,” said Dr. Biden. “Do your part. Choose to get your shot. And we’ll be able celebrate this summer the way it should be: safe and together.”
Governor Tate Reeves was not present at the visit to JSU, but he thanked the First Lady for her visit to the state.
“We are proud of the fact that Mississippi was one of the very first states in America to offer all Mississippians access to a vaccine,” said Reeves in a tweet. “To date, we have administered 1.99 million doses. We only have 90 of our fellow Mississippians hospitalized – down from 1,444 – and are reporting only 67 total new cases today – down 98% from a peak of over 3,000.”
My full statement below: pic.twitter.com/4Lnkrf2wne
— Tate Reeves (@tatereeves) June 22, 2021
The Governor reiterated in his statement that the vaccines are safe and effective, and an important part of the path beyond COVID. Reeves welcomed the First Lady as well as anyone else who can help spread that message.
The Republican National Convention also released a statement reminding Mississippians who began the push for a vaccination; the previous administration under former President Donald Trump.
“While Jill Biden promotes the Administration’s ‘National Month of Action,’ voters should remember that Biden’s goal of 70% of adult Americans partially vaccinated by July 4th is nowhere close to being reached. Without President Trump and the Republican’s Operation Warp Speed, we’d be even further behind than we are now,” said RNC Spokesperson Savannah Viar.