President Joe Biden talks Thursday to a crowd in Raleigh about the importance of COVID-19 vaccination. Screenshot courtesy of WLOS.

by Kristen Aguirre, WLOS

President Joe Biden took a tour of a COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Raleigh on Thursday in an effort to continue pushing vaccination efforts across the country.

Initially, the president set a goal of having 70 percent of U.S. adults vaccinated by the Fourth of July but has since conceded that goal will not be met.

But that’s not slowing down vaccination efforts nationally or locally.

“The best way to protect yourself is to be full vaccinated,” the president said to a cheering crowd.

But, the president was in Raleigh with a message — a reminder of what we’ve all been through over the past year.

“We lost 600,000 dead in America in about a year,” Biden said. “That’s more than every life lost in World War I, World War II, the Vietnam War, Iraq across the board, Afghanistan. More lives lost in a year.”

While the U.S. is making major progress on the path out of the pandemic, many other parts of the world are still struggling.

“One hundred countries in the world have no capacity to help themselves, right now, none,” Biden said.

The president is committing 1 billion vaccine doses to the rest of the world.

Right now, the U.S. has administered 9 million vaccine doses, with more than 50 percent of the adult population receiving at least one shot.

“Thank God for these vaccines,” Gov. Roy Cooper said.

In the mountains, there’s been even more progress — 52 percent of all Buncombe County residents who are eligible to receive the vaccine have been vaccinated with at least one shot.

“It gives you ease of mind that you’re not going to get sick,” 14-year-old Evan Shaw said.

Shaw got his second dose at a vaccination clinic at TC Roberson High School.

His mom, Carrie Shaw, was relieved.

“It just eliminates a lot of issues with all of us being vaccinated in the house,” she said.

Buncombe County Health and Human Services’ Stacey Wood said it’s crucial to meet the community where they are for these vaccinations.

“They’ve been going really well,” Wood said. “Wherever we go, kids and families are showing up to get a shot.”

Twelve-year-old Caroline Seibeck also got vaccinated at the clinic, proud to do her part.

“I was really excited, because, I know I’m helping out the world and making people feel better,” Seibeck said.

Biden is now urging you to do yours.

“Please get vaccinated, and everyone do their part,” the president said.

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