By Jackie Hampton,
First Lady Jill Biden visited the site where patients were receiving vaccines at Jackson State University Engineering Building prior to speaking to an intimate group on campus.
Mayor Choke Lumumba gave opening remarks stating, “We are truly happy to have the attention of the White House and to have federal partners as we try every endeavor to increase our vaccination numbers in the state of Mississippi and the city of Jackson.”
The mayor stated that Mississippi is below the national average of states having received the vaccination with a rate of 35% in Mississippi and a marginal 39% in Jackson.
He said, “We have been tasked in learning our way through this pandemic and to know we have support from Washington is truly reassuring.”
U. S. Congressman Bennie Thompson thanked the First Lady for coming to the capital city. He said it is important that she is here, given the demographics of the population that is most vulnerable. He thanked Thomas Hudson, president of Jackson State University for opening up Jackson State for a vaccination site and Dr. Jasmin Chapman, CEO, Jackson Hinds Comprehensive Health Center, for assisting with vaccinations at the JSU site.
Thompson said one challenge Mississippi has is that even though FEMA, which is under his jurisdiction, with the help of President Biden, has made available 100% money to states to help with vaccinations, “We have to ask our governor to accept this money and to work with all our partners to help everyone all over the state to get Mississippi off the bottom. We have to encourage the governor to do that,” he said.
Thompson said Biden’s presence speaks volumes to making sure how important it is to get all the people vaccinated and eliminate all the rumors of why people can’t accept the shot. Thompson said it can be either the shot, or perhaps unfortunately, an untimely death.
First Lady Biden said to the intimate group of legislatures, media and a few others that the 35 percent of eligible people that have been vaccinated is just not enough. She said, “And that’s why I wanted to come here today. That’s why the White House said ‘please, go to Mississippi, because the President and I, the White House, our administration care about you. We care about the people of Mississippi. We want them to be safe. We want them to be healthy. That’s why I’m here today, to ask all the people who can hear my voice and see my face to get your shots.”
Biden said she wanted those in attendance to remember three things: the vaccines are safe, the vaccines are effective and the vaccines are free.