PHOENIX — First lady Jill Biden and Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, are scheduled to be in Phoenix on Wednesday to tour a middle school vaccination clinic.
The two were in Utah and Texas earlier this week as part of a Biden administration nationwide tour to celebrate the country's progress against COVID-19 although many U.S. states continue to experience lagging vaccination rates.
Jill Biden's office says the trips are intended to highlight the ease of getting vaccinated and mobilize outreach efforts.
The first lady, Emhoff, and Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego are scheduled to tour a vaccination site at Isaac Middle School at 12:45 p.m. Wednesday.
The school sits in the 85009 zip code. Only 30% of the people living there have received at least one COVID-19 vaccine shot.
“We need to provide this resource in a way that is accessible for them, that they can understand what the vaccine is,” says Estella Barraza, Community Health and Safety Specialist for the Isaac School District.
The district is part of the state’s partnership with the Equality Health and HeroZona Foundations. Barraza has organized five pop-up clinics to help administer vaccines in underserved areas.
“We need to do everything we can to make it as easy as possible as convenient as possible for these folks to get the vaccine,” says Dr. Bechara Choucair, the White House Vaccination Coordinator.
According to the City of Phoenix, lack of transportation and other logistical issues, like working multiple jobs, are often cited by residents as reasons why they are not vaccinated.
But Estella Barraza says reluctance to get vaccinated is also a reason why people aren’t getting shots. It is why the district works directly with local physicians in getting people to recognize the importance of getting vaccinated.
“The other component is them trusting the vaccine is for them and trusting is why we put a lot of effort into the communication. And not just mass communication but one on one,” Barraza said.
Biden and Emhoff then fly out of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport at 2 p.m.