EUGENE, OREGON – Chris Hecht, White Bird Clinic Executive Coordinator, was invited to attend Sunday’s July 4th celebration on the South Lawn of the White House. More than 1,000 essential workers, vaccination program leaders, and military families were at the event, which celebrated the national progress towards ending the pandemic. President Biden told event attendees that the USA is “closer than ever to declaring our independence from a deadly virus” and thanked them for their contributions to this national effort.
White Bird Clinic’s vaccination project was honored at Sunday’s White House Independence Day celebration that commemorated the holiday and celebrated the nation’s progress toward overcoming COVID-19. Chris Hecht, White Bird’s Executive Coordinator and head of the vaccination project, was invited to be among the 1,000 people gathered for the largest planned event of Joe Biden’s presidency. Mr. Hecht represented the White Bird volunteers and staff that have provided more than 7,200 inoculations to residents of Eugene and surrounding areas. White Bird was selected for this honor in recognition of the Clinic’s work in advancing vaccine equity and the agency’s focus on reaching under-served groups, including homeless, BIPOC and LGBTQA+ communities.
“President Biden spoke about our nation’s progress with COVID-19,” says Hecht. “But he didn’t claim that we’ve finished the job. He thanked us all for the extraordinary progress we’ve made while recognizing that we have some serious work left.” Hecht also met First Lady Jill Biden and they spoke about White Bird’s work reaching marginalized communities.
White Bird began vaccinating Lane County residents in January. The agency then opened two brick-and-mortar vaccination clinics and joined the federal health center vaccination project in order to obtain a direct supply of doses. Hecht said those clinics have closed so that White Bird can focus on underserved rural communities. The outreach service will utilize a custom-outfitted vaccination van awarded by the Oregon Health Authority.