NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — CDC data reveals vaccine hesitancy is high in Tennessee as our state has one of lowest rates of fully vaccinated adults in the country.
Despite Johnson & Johnson vaccines being replaced by Pfizer at most locations in Middle Tennessee, some residents remain apprehensive.
“I’m not getting the shot. I’m worried about the side effects. It hasn’t been tested long enough,” said Tennessee resident Genia Helm.
Health officials worry the recent pause in administering the J&J vaccine has further fueled people’s fears.
Nashville’s drive-thru vaccination site, located at the former Kmart on Murfreesboro Pike, administered more than 200 shots Monday. But by Tuesday, Metro Public Health Department spokesperson Brian Todd said, “The numbers dropped pretty significantly to just over 100.”
And Wednesday, appointments went unfilled at the Music City Center.
“This is the first week that we’ve actually still had slots available,” says Todd.
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From availability to current phases, find vaccine information for every Tennessee county using News 2’s Vaccine Tracker map.
As of Wednesday, CDC data shows Tennessee ranks 48th in the country for adults fully vaccinated followed only by Alabama and Georgia.
“If you look across our state county by county, some counties are doing pretty well by national standards, and [there are] others that aren’t doing so well,” said Dr. James Hildreth, President of Meharry Medical College.
Dr. Hildreth goes on to explain that vaccine “buy in” in rural communities continues to be a challenge.
“To think there are so many people, some of whom have college degrees and are very well educated, are buying into misinformation. We’ve got to do a much better job of getting information out there to dispel some of the misconceptions people have about the vaccine,” said Dr. Hildreth.
Starting with the investigation into six cases of rare blood clots forming in women who received the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
“I don’t want people to get the impression that the CDC is sending a signal that the vaccines aren’t safe. No, it’s just the opposite. They’re confirming that they are safe, so we can continue using them.”
But Hildreth says to reach herd immunity, everyone must commit.
“We won’t get back to normal until most of us have been vaccinated, so there’s work to do,” said Dr. Hildreth.