Tennessee lawmakers concerned about delays in millions of COVID-19 doses


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Governor Bill Lee did not address the vaccination delays in his first public appearance following the deadly snow and ice storms from last week.

President Joe Biden’s administration announced an estimated six million doses have been delayed and some destroyed due to the winter weather. Tennessee, like other states, is playing catch up.

“Tennessee experienced something the other day that we haven’t experienced in many years,” Rep. Johnny Shaw, a west Tennessee Democrat said.

Snow and ice covering the roads throughout Tennessee is bad enough, but in a pandemic, amid the rush to vaccinate the most vulnerable quickly turned into the worst-case scenario.

“We really weren’t prepared for this cold snap if you will however, it has delayed vaccines and we are concerned about that,” Shaw said.

Lee met virtually with members of the NFIB, which was his first public appearance since the deadly winter weather. He did not address the vaccination delays but said he’s hopeful Tennessee will get back to normal sooner rather than later.

“I’m hopeful about the COVID numbers and the pandemic and how that’s disappearing at some level in our state as we ramp up our vaccination,” Lee said.

Democrats say an early misstep by the governor is only making the delays worse.

“I think that in the beginning the governor just got this all wrong when he said he want to stockpile vaccinations right there were people that could use it — what were we waiting for and now we’re in a crunch,” said Rep. Vincent Dixie.

The concerns are also structural. It’s unknown how many vaccination sites suffered damage from the heavy snow and ice.

Governor Lee’s office did not return a request for an interview or statement on the state’s vaccination efforts.

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