First Lady Jill Biden promotes COVID vaccine in visit to Waipahu High

Published: Jul. 25, 2021 at 2:06 PM HST|Updated: Jul. 26, 2021 at 4:43 AM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Dr. Jill Biden was joined by Gov. David Ige again on Sunday for a tour of a local vaccination clinic at Waipahu High School.

Dr. Biden walked around the school’s gymnasium to get a closer look at operations and flow of the clinic.

Following the tour, she headed over to the school’s library where a small group of elected officials and educators gathered for a brief speech.

She started with a message to educators ahead of the new school year, acknowledging the sacrifices and adjustments of distance teaching during the height of the pandemic.

“Before we start this year, I want to say thank you for all that you did last year — and it was difficult,” Biden said. “There were times when you probably wondered if you were going to really make it through all the chaos, but you did what educators did what educators do best: You made something out of nothing. you persevered and you supported your students.”

Watch the speech below:

After her personal message to the educators, the first lady then shifted to a broader message of vaccine encouragement, saying much progress has been made, but there is still a far ways to go.

“Hawaii has done a fantastic job getting shots in arms, but we’re not done yet. There’s still far too many people who aren’t vaccinated,” she said.

“Hawaii, your lives and your health matter to the president and to me. And this last push just seems the hardest of all,” Biden said. “I’m here to ask everyone listening right now to choose to get vaccinated.”

Hawaii has one of the highest vaccination rates with nearly 60 percent of its residents fully vaccinated. But the number of new cases in recent days has surged to above 200 and nearly all of the people getting sick were not vaccinated.

“Hawaii like communities across the nation and around the world is seeing an alarming surge in COVID-19 cases. Almost all getting sick today are not vaccinated,” said Gov. David Ige.

During the First Lady’s tour, Loise Medina, a 2020 Waipahu High School graduate, showed her how the clinic administers vaccinations.

“I’m just so happy to have seen her and for her to have seen all the hard work that the people have been putting into this clinic,” Medina said.

A small but vocal group of demonstrators and Trump supporters protested Jill Biden’s visit outside of the Waipahu High School campus.

But inside the school’s library, Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, House Speaker Scott Saiki and Honolulu City Council Chair Tommy Waters gave her a warm welcome.

“The first lady was super charming ... and gracious. I even got the First Lady to do the shaka sign,” said Waters.

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