NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - Elected officials and healthcare leaders in Nashville and Tennessee want to see more Tennesseans get their COVID-19 vaccine.
They came together at Nashville General Hospital on Friday to drive that message home to residents to move the needle upon the number of Tennesseans vaccinated.
"Until we have 85 percent of the population vaccinated, we're never going to have herd immunity," Patrick Johnson, Senior VP at Meharry Medical College, said.
Health officials and lawmakers would like to see the state get to 85 percent. Right now, Tennessee ranks 47 in the country in vaccinations.
"That is not 47 as in not three from the top. It's three from the bottom. So we're not doing really well in that area," Dr. Webb, the CEO of Nashville General Hospital, said.
Health professionals, elected officials, and faith leaders at Friday's event said they wanted Tennesseans to know there are many avenues available to get the vaccine. They added that they want people to know they can trust the vaccine.
"Regardless of what Governor Lee has said. The pandemic is not over. You can just declare it's over. You have to follow the science," Vincent Dixie, Democratic Caucus Chairman And Representative for House District 54, said.
"We wanted to show people it's truly not partisan. it's going to take our health professionals, it's going to take our community leaders in order to get the information to people and educate them, so they feel comfortable getting the vaccine," Dixie added.
"One thing I think we understand is that infectious diseases don't care about personal choices. viruses are immune to legislation and rules," another state leader said
And it's not just getting you vaccinated but educating people about it
"So the call to action today centers around dealing with the hesitancy and fear of getting the vaccine," said Dr. Webb
"It's not just bringing the vaccine to someone. It's about bringing the education process and being that trusted messenger," Johnson said
So their message is clear, get the vaccine.
"Th neighborly thing is being vaccinated," Pastor Frank Stevenson, St. Luke's Primitive Baptist Church, said.
"All working together to provide you everything you need to make an informed decision and be vaccinated. You have no excuse. we're here to help you," Johnson said