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Biden on vaccinations: ‘Just do it’


Dr. Rasheeda Monroe, medical director at Primary Care Pediatrics at WakeMed, listens with North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper as President Joe Biden visits a mobile vaccination unit at the Green Road Community Center in Raleigh, N.C., Thursday, June 24, 2021. Photo courtesy of White House Press Pool.

RALEIGH - Air Force One landed at Raleigh-Durham International Airport at 3:45 p.m. President Biden was greeted by North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan on the tarmac. His motorcade then went on to the Green Road Community Center in north Raleigh in which he arrived at 4:24 p.m.

Excited supporters lined the streets to welcome the president’s arrival to Raleigh.

High officials and local dignitaries were in attendance Thursday afternoon to hear the president expound on the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine. Pastor of Greenleaf Christian Church and Co-Chair of the Poor People’s Campaign, Reverend Dr. William J. Barber II, sat front row alongside Wake County Sheriff Gerald M. Baker. North Carolina NAACP President Rev. Anthony T. Spearmen was also in attendance. Mayor of Durham, Steve Schewel and Wake County Chair Commissioner Matt Calabria were front row eager to hear President Biden.

Spearheading the event, North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper made a profound statement, “North Carolina is lowest in deaths and job loss per capita and that’s a good thing but we are still not where we need to be. We will get this done.”

Ive Jones, a Raleigh native who is currently pursuing her studies at Princeton formally introduced President Biden at the event. Jones recently joined forces with North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services to administer masks and COVID vaccine information to the McDougald Terrace Community in Durham, North Carolina. Once introduced, President Biden addressed the country encouraging everyone to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reports that 55 percent of adults across the state have received the first dose of the vaccine. However, Wake County reports that 70 percent of its adults have had their first shot. Guilford reports that 49.8 percent have at least had the first dose, and 46.7 percent have been fully vaccinated. Biden used the Fourth of July celebration to encourage people to get vaccinated so they can safely enjoy the holiday. “Folks, let this be a summer of joy and freedom, let’s celebrate the Fourth of July with the independence from the virus,” Biden said to a cheering crowd.  Biden discussed how the delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is now the most common variant in the United States and unvaccinated people are more vulnerable to it. Spreading rapidly in some regions, the delta variant is considered to be more dangerous by causing more severe sickness and it is mainly affecting younger people.

“The more we close the gap on vaccination rates, the more lives we can save. We’ve lost 600,000 people in America, that’s more than every life lost in World War 1, World War 2, Vietnam, and Iraq,” which came as a shock to some but also an eye opener. Biden also said that 58 percent of the vaccines administered across the U.S. have gone to people of color and that makes a substantial difference. People of color have accounted for more than half of the vaccinations in the last month. “The more we close the gap on vaccination rates, the more lives we can save,” Biden stated.

Dr. Rasheeda Moore, a pediatrician with WakeMed,  spoke with the President about a group of Black physicians that have helped administer the vaccine to 14,000 people in underserved communities across the Raleigh area. “We worked with community partners, Black churches, HBCUs Latinx churches to get the community to bring the vaccine to them,” said Monroe. She added that there are many barriers that people of color face such as healthcare access, transportation, internet access, healthy eating, etc. Therefore, it is important that those individuals see themselves in the physicians and gain trust that they are accurately doing their job and also caring for the community.

Nonetheless, President Biden proclaimed one simple statement, “Don’t put it off any longer. Just do it. Just do it.”