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MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images First Lady Jill Biden visits a COVID-19 vaccination center
First Lady Dr. Jill Biden began her three-day tour of the Southwest on Wednesday with a visit to a New Mexico COVID-19 vaccine clinic, where she helped distract a few of those getting shots by promising they wouldn't feel a thing.
Biden, 69, arrived in New Mexico just before 2 p.m. on Wednesday, where she was greeted by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller and other state and local officials, according to reporters traveling with her.
Her visit to the Southwest is meant to highlight the Biden administration's efforts to get all Americans vaccinated, the White House said.
More than half of Americans have received at least one dose of the vaccine, with more than a third of U.S. adults now fully vaccinated, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Addressing vaccine hesitancy has been a major focus of the rollout at the federal and local level.
According to a New York Times tracker, roughly 569,000 people have died from the virus in the U.S. so far, though newly reported cases have continued a downward trend nationwide.
"So I've had this shot and it doesn't hurt. I promise," the first lady asked a woman awaiting her first shot on Wednesday at Albuquerque's First Choice Community Healthcare, South Valley Medical Center, which Biden toured before meeting with patients.
"Normally I'm scared of them!" Biden told the woman. "I have to say, it's so fast. Are you a little scared?"
After the woman replied that she was, the first lady offered a small distraction.
MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Dr. Jill Biden
"Do you want me to come stand with you? I'll stay with her," Dr. Biden said as the woman turned away from the needle. "I can't look either. Look at me. It doesn't hurt. Really. It's mostly in your head."
"She did a great job!" the first lady said afterward, before approaching another patient to ask: "Can I crash? You have to take off your jacket. So why did you decide to come? You felt a duty? Did you have any hesitation?"
The woman, identified by the press pool as Vivana Galvez, said: "I did was hesitant a little bit. I mean, I didn't know what was going in my body. And I'm doing them for the community, my family...."
"Right, that's what we want for you," Biden responded.
MANDEL NGAN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images Dr. Jill Biden (right) helps distract a patient getting a COVID-19 vaccine
Like the patient before her, Galvez watched the first lady while getting the vaccine, and the two elbow-bumped once it was over.
"Bring your friends back and tell them how easy it was," Biden said.
According to the White House, the first lady is scheduled to teach her writing class remotely on Thursday morning before visiting the Navajo Nation in Window Rock, Arizona.
Biden and her husband, President Joe Biden, received their first doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech novel coronavirus vaccine in December, with the latter getting his shot on live television from Delaware's ChristianaCare Hospital.