Tennessee Department of Health hopes to address vaccine hesitancy in new campaign

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The Tennessee Department of Health acknowledged that as while supply is plentiful, demand for the COVID-19 vaccine is slowing down.

“The reason our vaccination rates are lower is because people aren’t demanding it,” Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey said.

On Tuesday during a media briefing, Piercey said vaccine hesitancy is presenting issues and the Department of Health plans to address those concerns in May.

Starting on May 1, Piercey said a digital campaign will look at market research concerns with the hopes of having people reconsider getting their dose.

“Last week there was less than 20 percent of the total allocation requested from providers. While that is disturbing, that is just a reflection of low demand,” Piercey said.

Piercey said fear, mistrust and data are all factors in hesitancy.

“When you start dropping under the 60-year-old population and certainly below the 50-year-old population you see pretty quickly declining percentages in these age brackets,” Piercey said.

Piercey said nearly 75-percent of those over 70 are vaccinated, so there is a drastic decline in the average age for hospitalizations.

So far 34.4% of Tennesseans are vaccinated with at least one dose.

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