PHOENIX - On June 30, First lady Jill Biden appealed to Arizona residents to get vaccinated against COVID-19, aiming to counter skepticism by declaring that the vaccines are safe and have been vigorously tested.
"I’m here to ask all the viewers on these TV stations to please make the choice to get vaccinated because it’s safe," she said in a speech before an invited audience and TV cameras after touring a vaccine clinic at Isaac Middle School in Phoenix.
According to Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, the school is located in an area where only 33% of those eligible for vaccination have been vaccinated.
Biden was accompanied by Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris. Biden noted that they "usually divide and conquer" by making separate visits to clinics, but said, "Today our message is so important that we wanted to come to Phoenix together."
She said that Phoenix is the administration’s last stop on a monthlong tour to promote vaccinations, but that efforts to promote inoculations will continue.
"It’s going to keep going and going until we win," Emhoff added.
Emhoff appealed to the parents in the room, saying he sleeps better knowing that his son and daughter have both been vaccinated.
"I want every other parent to feel the way that I feel," he said.
Outside the school, some people protested the visit, holding signs that said, "You are not welcome," and waving pro-Donald Trump flags.
Cindy McCain, the widow of Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, sat in the front row of the socially distanced audience of about 100 people, including tribal leaders. President Joe Biden recently nominated her to be the U.S. representative to the U.N. Agencies for Food and Agriculture.
Arizona reports more COVID-19 cases
On June 30, AZDHS officials report 769 new cases and six additional deaths.
In all, the state has seen 894,875 cases and 17,936 deaths from the virus since the pandemic began.
Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers
More than 6.4 million doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered with over 3.55 million Arizonans — 49.5% of the state’s population — having received at least one shot.
Health officials said more than 3.14 million Arizona residents now are fully vaccinated.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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