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Second gentleman visits Vermont

Published: Apr. 20, 2021 at 10:29 PM EDT|Updated: Apr. 21, 2021 at 12:58 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - The second gentleman of the United States is visiting Vermont on Wednesday. Doug Emhoff, the husband of Vice President Kamala Harris, toured two spots in Burlington to discuss targeted vaccination outreach efforts to underserved populations.

Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff brought a message about the importance of getting vaccinated, and he left the Green Mountain State with something he hopes does spread.

New American Bishnu Subedi first arrived in Vermont a month ago from Nepal, and Wednesday there was another first -- the first dose of the COVID vaccine for the 28-year-old. “It’s a good thing to end the pandemic,” Subedi said.

She was also thrilled about something else too. The man who got to see her get the shot. The vice president’s husband, Second Gentleman Doug Emhoff stopped by Burlington’s Community Health Center to talk shots. “I want to be part of ending this pandemic,” he said.

Emhoff is crisscrossing the country promoting the Biden administration’s vaccination rollout and trying to end vaccine hesitancy, particularly among members of the BIPOC community. “People need to be, must be, and have reason to be confident in these vaccines,” he said.

Emhoff also met community members doing outreach locally, like Irene KeruBo Webster, a Kenyan immigrant living in the Burlington area who is encouraging Vermont’s local refugee communities to roll up their sleeves too. “And she realized that were not getting the vaccine when it was their turn and wanted to do something about it and communicated to them through music,” he said.

Reporter Darren Perron: Is this also a fact-finding mission? Are you gathering information from states that could be useful and what do you do with that information?

Doug Emhoff: Always, always... So, if there’s an issue with supply or distribution, whatever, it might be we take it back, and hopefully, that gets rectified.

Reporter Darren Perron: And who do you bring that information to?

Doug Emhoff: I start off every night when I come home. It’s, ‘Hey Dougie, how was your day?’ And, ‘Well, Madam VP, I was in Vermont...’

Emhoff is no stranger to the state and our weather. He used to ski here as a child. And on this trip, the second gentleman also met with state and city leaders, including Congressman Welch, health care workers, and first responders. He says the collaboration and the state’s efforts to keep COVID cases, deaths, and hospitalizations down -- and BIPOC vaccinations up -- should be mirrored across the U.S.

Reporter Darren Perron: What will you bring back? What is the takeaway from your trip to Vermont?

Doug Emhoff: This has been great. This is a model for the rest of the country of how it should work. You got a Republican governor, a Democratic... Nobody cares. They are on the same page trying to solve this... That’s the way it should work. And I want to take that back, but also take it across the country and say I was in Vermont and their numbers are great. But Darren, I want to say, as good as it’s going, we can’t let our guard down. We can’t stop.

Emhoff applauded the state for creating a multilingual task force to get the vaccine message out to people who don’t speak English and special vaccine clinics set up specifically for the BIPOC community.

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