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PHOENIX — First Lady Jill Biden and Second Gentleman Douglas Emhoff visited the Isaac Middle School in Phoenix, Ariz. on Wednesday to an effort to increase Covid-19 vaccinations throughout Arizona, including tribal communities.

The fact that only 40 percent of Arizona has been vaccinated led to the effort to increase vaccinations in the state.

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Among the guests were several Arizona tribal leaders, including Navajo Nation Jonathan Nez, Gila River Indian Community Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis, San Carlos Apache Tribal Chairman Terry Rambler, Tohono O’odham Nation Chairman Ned Norris, Jr., and Ak-Chin Indian Community Chairman Robert Miguel.

During her remarks, Dr. Biden held a moment of silence for the community of Surfside in Florida. She also recognized the Navajo leaders in the audience that she met with on her last trip to the state. 

“I was in Arizona this past April to visit the Navajo Nation. Thank you, President Nez, for the warm welcome that you gave to me and for joining us today along with the tribal leadership represented by Chairman Norris, Chairman Manuel, Chairman Ramble, and Gov. Lewis. Thank you all for being here today,” First Lady Biden said, who also commended tribal nations for leading the country in vaccination rates.

The Navajo Nation has fully vaccinated close to 65-percent of individuals 12 years and older for COVID-19. President Nez, along with public health experts, continue to encourage Navajo Nation residents to get fully vaccinated to push back on the COVID-19 variants including the Delta variant, which was recently identified in the northern region of the Navajo Nation.

“We are in this together and by having First Lady, Dr. Jill Biden, and Second Gentleman Emhoff with us today demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to fighting COVID-19 and overcoming the pandemic by listening to the health care experts. Our health care workers on the Navajo Nation are doing an outstanding job vaccinating our people, but we need to do more to reach our goal of herd immunity. I appreciate the White House leaders for living up to their commitment of having tribal leaders at the table for these important initiatives,” President Nez said.

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