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Padilla: We Have Much To Be Thankful For This Thanksgiving

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Yesterday, U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) delivered a speech on the floor of the United States Senate that included highlighting the importance of vaccines for schoolchildren and booster shots for eligible adults.

Padilla was Wednesday’s KVML “Newsmaker of the Day”.

Here are his words:

“Thank you, Madam President. Madam President, I am proud to share with all of you the experience of California this last year in combating the COVID 19 pandemic.

Proud to say that California has led the way on COVID-19 prevention and vaccination, because we have seen the devastation that surging cases can cause. Last winter, remember where we were. Last winter, a catastrophic surge in my home county of Los Angeles overwhelmed local hospitals. As was the case, frankly, in many parts of the country. Families were desperate to find care for their loved ones. Ambulances struggled to find hospitals with capacity.

So as we approach this winter season, I recognize that we’ve made incredible progress, turning the tide since those tragic times. Now, just a month ago, California achieved the lowest level of COVID-19 transmission of any state in the nation. But today, cases are beginning to rise again.

We’re seeing the effects of the changing weather. And so we need to stay vigilant to prevent another devastating surge, like the wave that peaked in California and across the country last winter. But fortunately, today, we are armed with a powerful defense. An FDA approved vaccine that is safe, that is effective, and that is free for all.

California’s historic vaccination efforts made possible by the resources that we helped deliver, when we passed the American Rescue Plan, has covered more than three quarters of our residents. More than 55 million shots in arms of Californians. But now is not the time to let up.

Every person who gets the vaccine helps to stop the spread of the virus in our community. And we’ve just received two new critical weapons. One, booster shots to increase protections for adults. And two, approval of a vaccine for children older than five.

Colleagues, during last week’s state work period, I had the privilege of joining leaders of the Los Angeles Unified School District for the opening of their first vaccine clinic, a mobile clinic, on school sites for students ages five and up. I saw firsthand the anxious excitement of families looking forward to a freer, safer life for children. Imagine that. Playdates with friends, holiday celebrations with grandparents, and relief for those with family members at higher risk. Now as parents of younger children, Angela and I know that this pandemic has especially been hard on children.

For more than a year, as we would gather together to pray as a family, our youngest, Diego who many of you met, would ask God for COVID to be over. And who would then ask when a vaccine would be ready for him and his brothers. That’s why it was such a big deal when the vaccine was approved for children ages five and older. Angela and I were vaccinated earlier this year. Our older son Roman was vaccinated months ago. And finally, last week, Diego and Alex received their vaccines. So we know that we’re sharing this moment of joy with millions of families across the country who are relieved that our children will be better protected against COVID-19.

So colleagues as we approach this now, second Thanksgiving since the start of the pandemic, we recognize that we have much to be thankful for. We’re thankful for the scientists who drew on years of research to design and test one of the most effective vaccines that we’ve ever seen.

We’re thankful for the doctors and nurses who are helping to administer the vaccine to as many people as possible while caring for the sick.

And we continue to be thankful for all the essential workers who take on high risk jobs, to keep food on our tables and keep the economy going.

So it’s in the spirit of all this, that I asked each and every one of you to do your part. To everyone at home, please each and every one of you, do your parts. Protect yourself. Protect your family, protect your community, get vaccinated. Get your children vaccinated. Go check to see if you’re eligible for a booster. And if you are, find one near you at vaccines.gov. We’ve come to appreciate how vaccination is the key to a safe holiday season. And it’s key to ending the pandemic for all. Thank you, Madam President. I yield the floor.

The “Newsmaker of the Day” is heard every weekday morning at 6:45, 7:45 and 8:45 on AM 1450 and FM 102.7 KVML.

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