First lady visits colleges’ pop-up Covid clinics

First Lady Jill Biden visited Grand Rapids Community College on Thursday to see a partnership to help vaccinate the local community. (Photo: GRCC/Steve Jessmore)

First Lady Jill Biden praised that leadership at Michigan’s Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) in helping students and community members get vaccinated against Covid during a tour of a campus pop-up clinic on Thursday.

Dr. Biden highlighted partnerships between federal pharmacy partners and community colleges in a national vaccination effort. Rite Aid staff administered vaccines at the pop-up clinic, and had enough doses on hand to assist up to 100 students, employees and community members.

Biden called community colleges “special places” and thanked GRCC President Bill Pink for the college’s role in removing obstacles to people getting the vaccines.

“We can see how far we’ve come during this really difficult time,” Biden said. “So many people have told me they are finally feeling hopeful and optimistic again. Families are returning to work and to school. Businesses are reopening. And we’re getting back to the things we missed for so long — hugging the people we love, catching up with friends face-to-face, and seeing our friends’ and families’ smiles.”

Biden, who teaches at a Northern Virginia Community College, met Rite Aid staff members and spoke with people who had just received their shots. She arrived with U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, who joined her on the tour, along with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss.

Later in the day, Biden flew to Metropolitan Community College in Kansas City for a similar tour of its vaccination efforts. She helped to give out free vouchers for a summer or fall class to vaccine recipients.

A personal thank-you

GRCC nursing students recently administered shots into the arms of students, campus employees and others at DeVos Place as part of the Shot of Love campaign, a partnership with Urban Church Leadership Center and Spectrum Health.

“Thank you for doing your part to protect yourself and the people in your lives,” Biden said. “The vaccine is safe and effective – it saves lives. Vaccines are the best way for all of us to get back to the weddings, the sporting events, the concerts that we all miss so much.”

She also praised frontline workers for all of their work during the pandemic crisis.

“I want to say to the frontline workers, ‘God bless you. You are the ones who have carried us through this pandemic, and you’ve shouldered this burden. I want to say, ‘thank you.’” 

About the Author

David Murray
is director of communications at Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan.