First lady Jill Biden visited a pop-up vaccination clinic in Nashville, Tennessee on Tuesday as part of her national tour to encourage Americans to get the coronavirus vaccine, and she didn’t miss an opportunity to criticize the state’s vaccination rate.
“This state still has mmm, a little bit of a way to go,” the first lady remarked. With a nervous laugh, she added, “Only three in ten Tennesseans are vaccinated.”
The Biden supporters in the audience booed the low statistic eliciting a sassy remark from Mrs. Biden, “Well, you’re booing yourselves,” she laughed.
A whopping 10 people were present to greet the first lady at the Ole Smoky Distillery in Nashville when she arrived according to the Tennessean.
Biden toed the line on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, saying she could not understand the distrust and misinformation surrounding vaccines. She reiterated that the vaccines are safe, free, and effective.
“You know what the vaccines mean for your family and your friends and your neighbors. You know they are saving lives. You know the vaccines are the only way to get back to the open mics and the music festivals and the concerts that make this town so very special,” she remarked to a cheering crowd.
The first lady was accompanied by country music star Brad Paisley who has been a staunch advocate for the vaccine. Paisley played a few songs for the audience, including one honoring country legend John Prine who died from coronavirus.
Paisley also reportedly sang Dolly Parton’s vaccine-themed remake of “Jolene.”
“Where I come from, in West Virginia, before the fire department comes people come with buckets and try to put it out,” he said. “Now we’re living in a time when disinformation is telling us that water won’t put out the fire.”
Tennessee is among the states with the lowest vaccination rate in the country with just 41 percent of residents having received at least one dose of a vaccine. This is the sixth-lowest percentage of all U.S. states, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The state now reports that only 50,000 people per week are receiving their first dose of the vaccine, down a whopping 75 percent from peak pace in April, according to USA Today.
Tennessee Governor Bill Lee has said that vaccines are a personal choice and, unlike many other states around the country, he has rejected calls to implement incentives to boost vaccine rates.
Some conservative lawmakers proposed dissolving the Tennessee Department of Health last week because it encouraged teenagers to be vaccinated, USA Today reports.
Rising concerns about the potential side effects from the vaccine, like blood clots and heart inflammation, have some Americans hesitant to commit to the shot.
In fact, almost half of Americans who have not yet received the vaccine have said they definitely won’t get it, according to a new poll from the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.
While the event with Biden was meant to promote the shot and encourage Americans to get it, just a few dozen attendees actually received the shot according to the Tennessean.
The administration acknowledged on Tuesday that it would likely be unable to reach its’ goal of administering at least one dose of the COVID vaccine to 70 percent of Americans by July 4.