First Lady Dr. Jill Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease expert, spent part of Sunday visiting a vaccination clinic at a historic Harlem church.
The First Lady and President Joe Biden’s chief medical advisor were joined by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand as they spoke to people getting vaccinated.
Speaking to a teenager about to get their shot, Dr. Biden said, “You’re 14, that’s exactly what we want! Twelve and over.”
“Thank you for setting an example,” Dr. Biden said to a woman said she had come in to get a shot because her grandson convinced her.
“You’ve got a good grandson there,” Dr. Fauci added.
The Abyssinian Baptist Church first started offering vaccine doses in January in an effort to boost the vaccination rates in New York City’s Black and Hispanic communities, and has held more than 40 vaccination clinics. Nearly 5,500 people have been vaccinated at the church as of the end of April.
“I want to thank you all for coming, because this is how we get the word out,” Dr. Biden told the crowd. “We want everyone 12 and over to come get vaccinated. We’re really working hard because we have to get back to life as normal and Dr Fauci is here and he’s still working hard. He’s working seven days a week.”
“We’re going to end this outbreak, for absolutely certain, and the vehicle to ending it is vaccination and that’s what’s going on right here,” Dr. Fauci, who was born in Brooklyn, pledged. “And that’s why I’m so impressed by being here and so honored to be here.”
“I think it’s important for Dr. Biden, First Lady, and Dr. Fauci, come to emphasize the importance, especially in the Black and brown community of the church in being the first line of defense against COVID-19,” Rev. Calvin Butts told local affiliate WABC. “We have been extremely successful in the pandemic, HIV tubes held the live demonstration house we made an effort that not only changed attitudes, but saved thousands of lives. We have doing that again, to choose healthy life.”
The clinic is co-hosted by Choose Healthy Life, a faith- based organization which seeks to address public health disparities, according to the First Lady’s office.
About 75 protesters gathered outside, according to the pool, largely demonstrating against Dr. Fauci and COVID restrictions.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.