Tennessee lags far behind national average for COVID-19 vaccinations – WBIR.com

In an interview with 10News, Dr. Martha Buchanan said she’s unsure whether Knox County will ever reach 70 percent vaccinated.

KNOX COUNTY, Tenn — Roughly 67.1 percent of American adults have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control.

That’s just shy of President Joe Biden’s goal of 70 percent by the Fourth of July. Southern states, like Tennessee, are part of the reason the nation fell short.

“We have seen that there has been lower uptake in a number of southern states,” said Dr. Rachel Levine, Assistant Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Heath and Human Services. “We are having some challenges reaching young people.”

In the Volunteer State, just 52.7 percent of adults have received at least one dose. Knox County’s top doctor said she’s unsure we’ll ever get to a spot with herd immunity.

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“That’s a great question,” said Dr. Martha Buchanan, director of the Knox County Health Department. “Only time will tell.

Knox County has one of the highest vaccination rates in the state, with 59.6 percent of adults receiving at least one shot prior to July 4. 

“People make that individual choice about whether they get vaccinated or not,” Dr. Buchanan said. “The other [part of that answer], quite honestly, some of it is access.”

In Loudon County, another area with high vaccination rates, Mayor Buddy Bradshaw told 10News it’s because of who lives there.

“We have several large retirement communities and so that drives our median age up a little bit,” he said. “I think that they’ve taken advantage, especially being in the high risk bracket.”

We also wanted to find out why some Tennessee counties are lagging far behind the others. CDC data showed just 22.3 percent of Moore County adults have received at least one dose.

“We disagree with the numbers and many reports flowing around have skewed numbers,” Mayor Bonnie Lewis said in an email. “Whether the shots went into Moore County citizens or citizens from Alabama, Nashville, Brentwood, Chattanooga… we gave our fair share.”