Doctor: COVID-19 vaccine incentives introduced by White House can only help Tennessee with uptake

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Posted at 6:09 PM, Jun 03, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — From nonstop demand, to a slowly moving crawl, vaccination progress has slowed down in Tennessee, but incentives may move the needle.

Just under 40 percent of the population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. In fact, only five states have lower vaccination numbers than Tennessee.

But on Wednesday, The White House announced it was jumping in to incentivize unvaccinated people.

During June, what the Biden administration is calling "National Month of Action," KinderCare and Learning Care Group locations across the country will offer free, drop-in appointments to any parent or caregiver who needs support to get vaccinated or recover from vaccination, and more than 500 YMCAs in nearly every state will offer drop-in care during vaccination appointments.

Thousands of pharmacies nationwide will stay open late every Friday in June, and offer services throughout the night to make sure people can get their shot on their time. Participating pharmacy chains include Albertsons, CVS, Rite-Aid, and Walgreens.

And on July 4, Anheuser-Busch will give away free beer to all adults over the age of 21 to celebrate the country’s progress against COVID.

Dr. William Schaffner with Vanderbilt's Division of Infectious Disease said the incentives introduced by The White House can only help Tennessee's numbers.

"What we don't want in the future is some parts of the state well vaccinated, [with] low COVID, and other parts of the state not so well vaccinated and COVID continues to occur and put people in the hospital," said Dr. William Schaffner.

The Tennessee Department of Health provided this statement in lieu of an interview about incentives.

Tennessee is committed to vaccinating anyone ages 12 and above that is willing to receive the COVID vaccine but it is not the sole responsibility of the state government to support this vaccination effort. We have to rely on all vaccine providers and community advocates in the state to help spread the message that the vaccines are safe and effective. It is critical that we continue to encourage individuals to receive a vaccine even as we see a decline in new cases. The COVID vaccine is our most effective tool in the continued fight to end the pandemic.
Tennessee Department of Health

The national goal is to get 70 percent of the population one shot by Independence Day. Currently, 63 percent of adults in the country are partly vaccinated.