SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – First lady Jill Biden stopped in Savannah Thursday to encourage more residents to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
Sen. Raphael Warnock, a native of the Hostess City, and Mayor Van Johnson greeted her at the Savannah/Hilton Head International Airport’s National Guard Thursday afternoon.
The group visited the Coastal Health District’s COVID-19 vaccination clinic at Alfred E. Beach High School.
“We’re honored to welcome the first lady to Savannah,” stated Chatham County Health Department Nurse Manager Tammi Brown. “Our health department has given more than 67,000 vaccinations, but a majority of adults in Chatham County are still unvaccinated and at risk. We aren’t at the finish line yet, so we appreciate her support.”
Biden met with one patient as he was getting his shot, and spoke with two students, ages 15 and 18, who received theirs. They told her most of their friends had been vaccinated as well.
“That’s good to hear,” said Biden. “That’s why we came to Savannah, to try to get more people vaccinated.”
Following the tour, Biden delivered remarks at the high school, along with Warnock and Johnson, addressing those who still need protection against the virus.
“Maybe you think whether or not you one person gets the vaccination doesn’t matter,” said Biden. “But, it does. The risk of COVID-19 is still out there. Even one hospitalization, one life lost is too many.”
Sen. Warnock told the crowd to think back to the isolation many faced during the pandemic with social distancing guidelines.
“The other day we celebrated the Fourth of July which is about freedom – and that’s what this is about,” Warnock said. “It’s about getting our lives back. So spread the word. Tell people don’t fear the vaccine. Be concerned about the virus.”
The country failed to meet President Joe Biden’s goal to have 70% of adults in America partially vaccinated by July 4.
He has said the country will move to community vaccination efforts with help from local pharmacies and family physicians.
The first lady met with Chatham County healthcare workers and thanked them for their work throughout the pandemic.
“You met this crisis with courage and now you’re working tirelessly to get Savannah vaccinated,” said Biden. “Nobody knows this community or how to meet people where they are like you do. You’re the best messengers we have and the president and I are so grateful for your work.”
In Chatham County, over 240,000 vaccinations have been administered, and 41% of residents are considered fully vaccinated.
“Do your part. Choose to get your shot for yourself, for your family, for your city of Savannah,” Biden said. “And then we’ll be able to celebrate the summer the way it should be — safe and together.”
The first lady most recently visited the Hostess City in October 2020 to campaign for her husband.
After her Savannah visit Thursday, Biden, an English professor, will be traveling to Florida to visit the finalists in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.