First lady’s Michigan visit puts the spotlight on GRCC’s vaccination efforts

Grand Rapids Community College was spotlighted in first lady Jill Biden’s recent visit to Michigan.

During a tour of a campus pop-up clinic on May 27, she praised the college’s leadership in helping students and community members get vaccinated against COVID-19.

Dr. Biden, who holds a doctorate in education, 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. 

‘Special places’

In her visit, Biden calls community colleges “special places” and thanks GRCC President Bill Pink for the college’s role in removing obstacles to people getting the vaccines.

A student receives a COVID-19 vaccination at GRCC.
“We can see how far we’ve come during this really difficult time,” Biden says during her visit. “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 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 (R-Grand Rapids), who joined her on the tour, along with Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss. 

Praises front-line workers

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 says. “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 praises front-line 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.’” 


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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.

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