Tennessee Records Some of the Country’s Worst COVID-19 Vaccination Rates, CDC Data Reveals

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) – Tennessee has one of the worst COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, trailing all but two states in the percentage of the adult population considered fully vaccinated. NewsChannel 5 investigates discovered.

Tonight at 6pm: NewsChannel 5 visits the province with the worst vaccination coverage

Data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows that Tennessee ranks 48th out of 50 states in the percentage of fully vaccinated adults, 48th in the percentage of adults who received at least one dose, and 47th in the number of doses per 100,000 residents, and 45th of the percentage of seniors aged 65 and older who are now vaccinated.

“I am concerned about those numbers for obvious reasons,” said Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine.

“We would like to get to that point where we call ‘herd immunity’ – where it’s much more difficult for the virus to spread among ourselves because so much of the adult population is vaccinated – and we are for a long time not. “

Tennessee 48th among adult vaccinations

The CDC data shows that only 23.4 percent of adults in Tennessee are fully vaccinated. Only Alabama and Georgia have worse records (22.1 and 21.4 percent, respectively).

Another southern state, Arkansas, ranks in the bottom five, along with Utah.

In contrast, Alaska leads the country with nearly 40 percent of adults fully vaccinated, followed by New Mexico with 38.2 percent and South Dakota with 37.8 percent.

Rhode Island and Maine complete the top five.

Tennessee’s neighbor to the north, Kentucky, ranks 22nd in the country, with 31.1 percent of adults fully vaccinated.

In addition, only 38.8 percent of Tennessee adults have received at least one dose of a vaccine, with only Alabama and Mississippi posting worse grades than the Volunteer State on that front.

But New Hampshire outshines many other states in the percentage of adults who receive at least one dose, with a 65.2 percent success rate, according to the CDC data.

New Mexico, Connecticut, Maine, and Massachusetts are next.

Kentucky ranks 27th in the country with 46.6 percent of adults receiving at least one dose.

Tennessee 45th among senior vaccinations

Tennessee also ranks 45th in the country in the percentage of adults aged 65+ who are fully vaccinated and the percentage of seniors who have received at least one dose.

The CDC says 54.9 percent of seniors in Tennessee are fully vaccinated, compared to an astonishing 78.4 percent in Rhode Island.

“We started out as a kind of house on fire, but we seem to have slipped,” said Schaffner.

Tennessee’s lagging vaccination rates cannot be attributed to a vaccine shortage.

The latest CDC figures show that Tennessee received 4,671,560 vaccine doses, but administered only 3,299,283 of them.

That’s 67.8 percent, putting the state in 43rd place out of 50 states in terms of use of its vaccine stockpile.

It is not known how many doses of Tennessee has available that it simply did not request to be shipped to the state.

“The avid beavers are still coming out, those first acceptors,” Schaffner said.

“But especially in our rural areas – and we many people who live in rural areas – people don’t come forward for vaccination. We have sufficient meeting space, and those agreements are not honored. “

Comparisons by province

CDC data shows that small Moore County – home to the Jack Daniel’s Distillery – has the worst COVID-19 vaccination rate of the state’s 95 counties.

Only 10.5 percent of adults in Moore County are fully vaccinated, compared to 33.8 percent in Loudon County, outside of Knoxville, and 29.5 percent in Williamson County.

Metro Nashville-Davidson County comes in on the 19th with 24.8 percent fully vaccinated.

Of those over 65, 26.3 percent of seniors in Moore County are fully vaccinated, far from the 72.7 percent in Williamson and Meigs counties.

That compares to 59.7 percent in Davidson, which ranks 13th.

Moore County Mayor Bonnie Mayor questioned the numbers, noting that Moore County shares zip codes with several neighboring counties.

Still, she admitted there are skeptics.

“The same argument or fear you hear everywhere is the same in Moore County,” Lewis said.

‘You know, has enough research been done? Is it going to change my DNA? Whatever that discussion is. But then there are also some people who don’t want two appointments for anything, so they will wait for the Johnson & Johnson and have their only chance. “

That was before federal and state governments stopped distribution of the J&J vaccine.

What is the solution?

Dr. Schaffner said the answer is “leadership, leadership and leadership.”

Tennessee government Bill Lee has been more muted in his comments on the COVID vaccines than other political figures. The Williamson County Republican says he has been given a vaccine, but unlike many of his colleagues, Lee has not distributed photos of him setting a good example.

The state has also spent millions of dollars on an advertising campaign urging Tennessees residents to wear masks, but has not produced any commercials advocating for vaccinations.

“I think we need our political leaders, at both the state and local levels, to make unequivocal statements that everyone should be vaccinated – everyone!” Schaffner said.

The infectious disease expert also called on religious and business leaders to call for vaccinations.

But Mayor Lewis said that while she didn’t shy away from proclaiming her own decision to get vaccinated, that’s where her advocacy ends.

“I don’t make it my job to change someone’s mind,” Lewis said. “I think people are quite learned. They will find out the facts for their own family. “

NewsChannel 5 investigates continued: “So when people believe something that isn’t true, don’t you think it’s your job to convince them of the science?”

“I’ve shared the science,” insisted Lewis. But as far as ‘persuade’ is concerned, I’m not going to do my best to prove you wrong, okay? That is not my job. “

Potential concern if trends persist

Dr. Schaffner said he is concerned about what could happen if more is not done to combat disinformation statewide.

“If we can’t get these numbers in the state of Tennessee, we’ll have parts of our population that are well vaccinated, they’re going to be relatively spared,” he explained.

“But this virus will live on in the undervaccinated part. It will continue to be handed over and take neighbors, friends and relatives and put them in the hospital. “

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