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Vice President Visits Jacksonville, Emphasizes Importance Of Getting Vaccinated

Kamala Harris
Jacquelyn Martin/AP
The Florida Channel
Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.

Before traveling to the FEMA-run Gateway Town Center vaccination center, the vice president praised the state for lowering the age to get a COVID vaccination to 50.

Vice President Kamala Harris on Monday visited Jacksonville, where she visited the city's federally run COVID-19 vaccine distrbution site and touted the benefits of the recently passed $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan with a visit to a local food bank.

"We're going to be here visiting a vaccination site saying, 'Look everybody ... when it's your turn go and get vaccinated,' and that's the message of the day and that should be the message everyday, including reminding folks to wear a mask and wash their hands and social distance," the vice president said.

Before traveling to the FEMA-run Gateway Town Center vaccination center, she praised the state for lowering the age to get a vaccination to 50.

"If you get vaccinated when it's your turn you are much more likely to avoid contracting COVID, much less having severe symptoms or hospitalization or death," she said.

The FEMA site visit was followed by a listening session with Florida leaders at Feeding Northeast Florida, the region's largest nonprofit food bank and hunger relief network.

Florida Commissioner of Agriculture and Consumer Services Nikki Fried told the vice president that 40% of black families and 39% of Hispanic families in the area are experiencing chronic hunger.  

Harris responded, saying that "the work that we did on the American Rescue Plan was designed with you mind."

Harris and President Joe Biden have been traveling the country to promote aspects of the coronavirus stimulus plan.

Her husband, Doug Emhoff, accompanied by U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack and Rep. Cindy Axne, an Iowa Democrat, toured the Food Bank of Iowa, near Des Moines. Tuesday, President Biden is going to Ohio to showcase health insurance cost cuts in the plan.

Gov. Ron DeSantis is already making plans for Florida’s share of the stimulus money. Last week, he pitched plans to use nearly half of the money coming to Florida from the package to bulk up infrastructure, bolster efforts to fight rising sea levels, fix the troubled unemployment system and provide first responders with $1,000 bonuses for their work during the past year.

Fried, U.S. Rep. Al Lawson, Mayor Lenny Curry and FEMA regional lead Bob Spence greeted Harris at the airport as she stepped off Air Force Two.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Bill joined WJCT News in September of 2017 from The Florida Times-Union, where he served in a variety of multimedia journalism positions.