Wednesday, June 30, 2021 | Category: Media Coverage
First lady Jill Biden and second gentleman Doug Emhoff visited a pop-up clinic at a west Phoenix middle school on Wednesday, posing for pictures with those getting their COVID-19 vaccines and encouraging others to get their shots.
Their visit to Isaac Middle School, in an area where the vaccine rate is lagging drew Arizona politicians and health officials, including Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Cindy McCain, recently nominated as President Joe Biden’s pick as the U.S. representative to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
One girl who got a shot told Biden that she likes to cook. Biden asked her if she wanted to go to culinary school. Biden moved to a second girl to chat, and they took a picture together.
“Thank you for getting vaccinated,” Biden told people in a waiting room.
Biden and Emhoff posed for more pictures with teens getting the vaccine and with clinic workers.
Multiple families waiting in line to be vaccinated said they were unaware that Biden and Emhoff, husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, were visiting the vaccine clinic.
Jetaime Moreno, 13, said she was at the clinic for a simple reason.
“Because I don’t want to catch it (COVID-19),” Moreno, who was with her father, said.
Austin Leon, 22, and his sister Sasha Leon, 15, knew because their father, who works for Equality Health, helped spearhead the event. But the main reason the Leons were there was to get Sasha her second vaccine dose. In a couple of weeks, Sasha is headed to Las Vegas for a volleyball tournament.
“I just wanted to make sure I didn't have a higher chance because everyone's touching the ball,” Sasha Leon said. “I don’t want to be in fear.”
Sasha said her father wants to make shots available to more people. “His goal is to get a bunch of events in more poor places or harder places for people to get vaccines,” she said.
Gallego introduced Biden and Emhoff to a crowd of about 100 people after they had toured the clinic, noting that Maricopa County had “voted for Biden/Harris” last year.
"We are looking forward to getting out in the community and helping people with whatever barriers are out in front of us," Kate Gallego said.
U.S. Rep. Ruben Gallego, D-Ariz., whose district includes Isaac Middle School, and City Councilmember Laura Pastor also attended. So did Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs and Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ.
"There's still too many communities, especially communities of color, that struggle to get access to vaccines and factual information about the reliability and benefits of vaccination,” Ruben Gallego said. “This has resulted in lower vaccination rates.”
Wednesday's event was the third COVID-19 vaccination clinic hosted at Isaac Middle School in partnership with the Equality Health Foundation, the Herozona Foundation and Adelante Healthcare, among other community stakeholders. All three vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson) were offered, in addition to COVID-19 testing.
“What's really unique about (the clinic) is it's bringing all of it together, both the vaccines and the testing together, and we're taking it out to the community,” said Christina Noble, the chief growth officer at Sonora Quest Laboratories, which helped conduct testing at the clinic.
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