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To Boost Vaccinations In Kansas City, First Lady Jill Biden Hands Out Vouchers For A Free College Class

First Lady Jill Biden talks with one of the people vaccinated at the Penn Valley campus of Metropolitan Community College on Thursday where she visited to tour the school's clinic.
Carlos Moreno
First Lady Jill Biden talks with one of the people who received a vaccine at the Penn Valley campus of Metropolitan Community College on Thursday, where she visited to tour the school's clinic.

The first lady visited Metropolitan Community College as part of partnership between community colleges and retail pharmacies for vaccine distribution.

First Lady Jill Biden visited Kansas City, Missouri, Thursday to encourage people to get the COVID-19 vaccine.

Accompanied by U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, Biden visited the Penn Valley campus of Metropolitan Community College and handed out vouchers for a free class for anyone who got the shot.

During her brief visit, Biden toured MCC’s vaccination clinic, greeting workers and talking with people lined up to get their shot.

“This is the best way to get us back to the weddings and the homecomings and the concerts and everything that we've missed for really the whole year,” she said.

MCC is offering a free class — up to three credit hours — to anyone who comes to their clinics to get a vaccination.

Biden, a community college professor herself, said she admired the creativity of the incentive and was pleased to see so many people in line. She later moved to a room where people were waiting after getting their shot, where she handed out the blue paper vouchers for the free class.

School officials said they registered 150 people for Thursday’s clinic.

Kansas City resident Peri McClinton got her vaccine dose and received a class voucher. McClinton said she had already graduated from another school but looked forward to using the voucher to take a creative writing class.

She said she had been looking for an opportunity to get the vaccine. Her mother mentioned that MCC was hosting an event.

“And I just Googled it and I was like, oh, well, if there's a possibility, I can also meet the first lady. That'd be really cool as well,” McClinton said.

While McClinton didn’t meet Biden, she did see her leave and wave to the people in the clinic.

According to Chancellor Kimberly Beatty, the school was selected to partner with a retail pharmacy for the clinic because of its diverse student body and urban location. She said she hoped Biden’s visit would increase the vaccination rate and also call attention to the school’s mission as a community college.

Cleaver said he was pleased with the program, but said people are still dying every single day and that Missouri is still among the bottom states for vaccination rates. Reaching reluctant citizens in the urban core and the metropolitan area, he said, is vital to defeating the virus.

“I hope that the students throughout the MCC system spread the word,” he said.

While several people were eager to cash in their class credits, at least one one, according to Cleaver, said she wasn’t planning on using the voucher handed to her by the First Lady. Instead, she wanted to frame it and keep it.

As KCUR’s general assignment reporter and visual journalist, I bring our audience inside the daily stories that matter most to the people of the Kansas City metro, showing how and why events affect residents. Through my photography, I seek to ensure our diverse community sees itself represented in our coverage. Email me at carlos@kcur.org.
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