First Lady Jill Biden will visit Florida Thursday as part of the administration’s push to increase vaccinations this month ahead of what was the president’s July 4 goal of getting “closer to normal” and 70% of adults at least one vaccine dose.
This week, health officials conceded that the country won’t meet its Independence Day goal, but they instead highlighted the fact that 70% of Americans over 30 were partially vaccinated and that several states had met the goal individually.
As of Wednesday afternoon, more than 65% of adults had gotten at least one dose.
Still, states in the southeastern U.S. are notably behind in vaccinations, a key reason for the First Lady’s visit to Florida Thursday, after a Tuesday visit to Tennessee and Mississippi.
Dr. Biden is set to visit the Orlando area first Thursday afternoon, where she’ll first tour a drive-through vaccination site in Kissimmee run by community health organizers.
She’ll then travel down to Tampa for an event with the Tampa Bay Lightning and AdventHealth called “Shots on Ice,” where residents will be able to get the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson shot on the ice at Amalie Arena.
- Shots on Ice at Amalie Arena - 4:30pm-6:30pm
- Free Pfizer and J&J one dose vaccines courtesy of AdventHealth
- Pictures on the ice with Thunder Bug
- Free shots on net
Tampa's Mayor Jane Castor is happy with vaccination rates in Hillsborough County among older adults, however younger adults are getting vaccinated at a lower rate. The Mayor says, "Where we are having a little bit more difficulty is that younger group, that 18 to around 30 years old. And we are doing everything we can to encourage them to get vaccinated."
The trip follows similar visits to southern states from Vice President Kamala Harris, who went to Atlanta and Greenville, SC last week, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff and members of the president’s cabinet.
On Tuesday, Dr. Biden urged a crowd in Jackson, MS to get the vaccine in a state where 46% of adults are partially vaccinated.
“We’re getting back those things we lost for so long: hugging the people we love,catching up with friends face to face, smiling at strangers. And it’s because so many people have chosen to get vaccinated,” she said. “If you still have questions, that’s okay! Talk to your doctor. This is your choice, so get the information you need.”
The administration has said it will continue its major push to get people vaccinated this month and in the weeks to come, even without expectations of meeting the July 4 goal.
President Joe Biden announced a national “month of action” in early June to help motivate people to get the shots, including incentives like free rides to the vaccine and help with child care.
In the last week, the country reached the milestones of 150 million people partially vaccinated and 300 million shots given in the president’s first 150 days.
“Since the president took office, COVID-19 cases and deaths are down by over 90%,” White House COVID Response Coordinator Jeff Zients said Tuesday, crediting the Biden administration for its work to speed up shots in the first few months of this year. “Nearly every state is open for most activities, and the economy is rebounding strongly.”