‘Do your part.’ First Lady urges Dallas citizens, leaders to get the COVID-19 vaccine

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First Lady Jill Biden and former Dallas Cowboys great Emmitt Smith urged Dallas community members and leaders to do their part and get the COVID-19 vaccine during an appearance Tuesday at a pop-up clinic at Emmett J. Conrad High School.

“We are so grateful for her to support this effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus in this community,” Jaafar Al Obaidi, a Conrad High School student, told event attendees.

The appearance was part of the White House National Month of Action, which President Joe Biden announced as a way to get as many Americans vaccinated by the Fourth of July. Both Moderna and Pfizer shots were available.

“Choose to get your COVID-19 vaccine,” Jill Biden told those attending the event. “Do your part. Do it for your health, do it for your children, do it for your grandparents and your neighbors. Then we’ll all be able to celebrate this holiday, the Fourth of July, the way it should be, the way we remember, safe and together.”

Dr. Philip Huang of Dallas County Health and Human Services said Biden’s visit shows support from the highest levels.

The vaccinations were administered in the high school’s gym.

The clinic had a steady flow of visitors throughout the day and the turnout was similar to other vaccination clinics organized by Parkland Hospital, said Shanette Cole, director of community development at Parkland Hospital.

“Getting vaccinated is safe, it’s effective and it’s free,” Biden told event attendees.

Biden informed the crowd that most vaccination sites do not require appointments and that Uber and Lyft are offering free rides to sites.

She asked event attendees if they remembered how quiet the streets were a year ago, how empty grocery aisles were and how uncertain and lonely many people felt.

“But today we’re finally getting back to the things that we lost hugging the people we love, catching up with friends face to face, smiling at strangers,” Biden said.

But none of this would have been possible without people doing their part and getting vaccinated, she said.

Chase Walton received the Pfizer vaccine at the site. Biden then told Walton to encourage his friends to do the same.

“Now you have to tell all your friends it doesn’t hurt,” Biden said. “It’s easy, and now you’re going to protect everyone in your family and your neighborhood and your community, and that’s what it’s all about — helping and protecting one another.”

While people sat in the vaccination observation area after receiving their vaccine, Smith told them that they are protecting someone else when they protect themselves.

“It’s up to someone else now to do what you just did so they can protect the next person so that’s just the way it has to go,” the Pro Football Hall of Famer said. He later added, “To take care of the next person we have to take care of ourselves first.”

Biden and Smith said that the pandemic is far from over.

“We’re in the fourth quarter and the game is not over,” Smith said.

Biden thanked people who received the vaccine for “helping us run down the field.”

Smith told event attendees that it’s now up to the ones who have not taken the steps to get the vaccination to do their part.

“Do your part. Stand up for America. Stand up for the person to your right and to your left,” Smith said.

In Tarrant County, 47.46% of people age 12 and older have been fully vaccinated and 75.6% of people ages 65 and older have been fully vaccinated, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

“As far as we’ve come we are not done yet. Right now only 40% of Texans are fully vaccinated. It’s just not enough,” Biden said.

Biden thanked Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins for leading Dallas in the “most challenging year.”

There will be another pop-up COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Dallas on Wednesday at Dallas College Brookhaven Campus from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.