As Mississippians lag behind most states in taking the vaccine, first lady Dr. Jill Biden visited Jackson State University on Tuesday in hopes of improving the dismal 35 percent rate and protecting people against death and hospitalization.
Biden said, “The president and I care about you. We care about the people of Mississippi. We want them to be safe. We want them to be healthy. So, I’m here today to ask people who can hear my voice and who can see my face to get your shot.”
She said the vaccine offers a far better outcome today than the forced isolation that prevented people from doing normal things a year ago, pointing out that “restaurants are reopening; families are back to work; and so many of our kids finished school in person.”
Favor from above?
“It felt like it would take a miracle, but I feel like the miracle is here,” said Biden, acknowledging that the vaccines were rolled out in record time. Nevertheless, she said they work much better than expected. “Still, there’s a lot of misinformation out there, and people have a lot of questions.”
Such concerns are not uncommon, she said. “Many of you have questions. That’s OK. Talk to your doctor; talk to your pediatrician.” She, too, welcomes inquiring minds.
“As a teacher, as a mom, as a nana, I wanted to give people the best answers I could. So, I asked some of the experts like you. I was surprised to learn that while these vaccines might be new, the technology behind them really isn’t new at all. Scientists have been studying similar viruses and working on this type of vaccine for decades.”
One thing that’s clear is that life is gradually returning to normal, Biden reiterated. “We’re getting back to the things we lost for so long, like hugging the people we love. Can you remember the first person you hugged?”
She offered another incentive for getting vaccinated. “Summer is here, and it has never felt more full of promise.” Furthermore, she said, “The time with our loved ones feels so much more precious than it ever did – now that we know it can be lost.
Biden offered three salient points that she wants Mississippians to know about the vaccines:
- They are safe and don’t hurt.
- They’re effective and important for your health. “Studies show they offer almost perfect protection against death or hospitalization,” she said.
- They’re absolutely free. “Most places don’t require an appointment. If you need a ride, Uber and Lyft are offering trips for free; and child care is an option in many places.”
Biden also credited the compassionate and giving spirit of humankind.
“The bonds of our community feel stronger because we carried each other through the darkest times. And that’s what we do as Americans. It’s who we are. We take care of our neighbors and our friends. People know that together there’s nothing that we can’t face together – no obstacles that we can’t soar above,” Biden said.
The first lady urged Mississippians not to let up on helping to vanquish the virus, and she suggested they visit vaccines.gov to locate vaccination sites.
“Now, we must rise once more. Each of us is doing our part to protect ourselves and everyone around us. Do your part and choose to get your shot, and we’ll be able to celebrate this summer the way it should be – safe and together. God bless you, Mississippi. Go get vaccinated.”