‘The pandemic is not over,’ Meharry Health leaders team with lawmakers to encourage vaccinations

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Lawmakers are making some last minute pushes to get people vaccinated before they adjourn next week.

This comes as Tennessee ranks 47th in vaccinations in the nation and a COVID-19 situation spiraling out of control in India.

Health professionals from Meharry and Metro Nashville General Hospital say it is just a matter of time until it comes to the United States.

Governor Bill Lee declared the COVID-19 health crisis was over Tuesday.

Despite the declaration, lawmakers say the fight with COVID-19 should continue.

“I’m here to tell you Governor Lee and who out there listening…the pandemic is not over,” Nashville Rep. Vincent Dixie said.

Nashville General Hospital doctors agree; they say vaccinations are a step to get back to normal and people aren’t doing their part.

“Tennessee ranks 47 among 50 states in vaccinations — now that’s not 47 as in 3 from the top — that’s three from the bottom,” Dr. Joseph Webb, CEO of the Nashville General Hospital said.

The troubling vaccination statistics drove the lawmakers and health leaders to meet.

“A lot of time, effort, money and energy has gone into creating an opportunity for you to receive a vaccine to protect you, to save you from an invisible enemy,” Patrick Johnson, Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement at Meharry Medical College said.

There are new warnings that more waves of COVID-19 could come to the US.

“If you don’t believe what you see that’s happening in India isn’t going to make its way westward in this world, you’re wrong,” Johnson said.

As the economy opens up, leaders say the best thing you can do is protect yourself by getting vaccinated.

“Until we have 85% of the population vaccinated, we’re never going to have herd immunity,” Johnson said.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, only 25.5% of all Tennesseans are fully vaccinated.

“It is taking your life in your hands when you fail to get vaccinated because we have a solution; there is a solution and it’s backed by science,” Webb said.

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