Jill Biden touts COVID-19 vaccine as safe, effective during Michigan stop

Craig Mauger
The Detroit News

Grand Rapids — First lady Jill Biden declared during a Thursday stop in Grand Rapids that "now is the time" for people who have resisted to change course and get their COVID-19 vaccines.

Biden spoke at a pop-up vaccine clinic at Grand Rapids Community College's DeVos campus. She promoted the importance of vaccinations and voiced support for states that have offered incentives, including cash prizes, to entice people to get their doses.

First lady Jill Biden speaks to media after touring the vaccination clinic at Grand Rapids Community College's downtown campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, May 27, 2021.

"Whatever it takes, I'm in favor of," Biden said. "Because that is the only way ... we're going to get back to what we were before ... a healthy America."

As of Thursday, 4.7 million Michigan residents, about 58% of the adult population, had received at least their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. President Joe Biden wants to see 70% of the country's adults get at least their first dose by the Fourth of July.

Jill Biden appeared Thursday in Grand Rapids with Mayor Rosalynn Bliss and U.S. Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Grand Rapids Township. She toured the vaccine clinic before speaking to the media for about 10 minutes.

The first lady encouraged those who haven't gotten vaccinated yet to talk to their doctors and pharmacists.

"The vaccine is safe and effective, and it saves lives," she said.

First lady Jill Biden tours the vaccination clinic with Yasheka Sharma of Rite Aid, second from right, Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss, left, and Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., at Grand Rapids Community College's downtown campus in Grand Rapids, Mich., Thursday, May 27, 2021.

"Vaccines are the best way for all of us to get back to the weddings and the sporting events and the concerts that we all miss so much," Biden added.

Meijer touted the vaccines in an interview after the event, saying it is "incredibly worth it" when the tally of COVID-19 deaths and need to get the economy reopening are considered.

The congressman also spoke positively of lotteries that have been offered in Ohio and other states to encourage individuals to get the vaccine.

First lady Jill Biden arrives at Gerald R. Ford International Airport in Grand Rapids, Mich., and is greeted by Rep. Peter Meijer, R-Mich., Thursday, May 27, 2021, en route to the vaccination clinic at Grand Rapids Community College.

"I clearly love the creative approach," Meijer said.

Ohio residents 12 to 17 years old who have received at least their first COVID-19 vaccination can enter for a chance to win one of five four-year full-ride scholarships, including room and board, tuition and books, to any Ohio state college or university. Ohio residents age 18 and older who have received their COVID-19 vaccinations can win one of five $1 million prizes.