NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee has one of the worst vaccination rates in the country, and according to Vanderbilt University, vaccine doses are being sent back to the CDC before they expire.
When once there were long lines for vaccines for COVID-19, now infectious disease experts are asking people in Tennessee to step up and get vaccinated.
Just 36% of Tennesseans have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. That's well under the national average of 45%.
First Lady Jill Biden was in Tennessee to encourage people to get the vaccine. Many southern states have a slow uptake of the vaccine.
Dr. William Schaffner, a leading infectious disease expert in the country, said it's time for Volunteers to get the vaccine.
"These vaccines are extraordinarily safe and they're extraordinarily effective," said Schaffner. "People are coming to the hospital. We are admitting patients here. 90-percent of them and over are not vaccinated or only partially vaccinated."
Schaffner said the hospital has to send back doses of the vaccine to the CDC before they expire. Though, he wasn't sure what happens with those doses once they arrive.
"There has been a heterogeneity of responses across our whole country. I would have loved to see everybody espouse vaccination no question. That would've helped a lot," he said.
Schaffner also thinks state leadership could play a larger role in encouraging the population to get the vaccine.