Mid-South states lag far behind nation in vaccinations

Vaccine hesitancy across the Mid-South

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - When it comes to COVID-19 vaccinations, all three Mid-South states lag far behind most of the country, according to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

WMC Action News 5 analyzed the data from the CDC.

It shows Tennessee ranks 48th among states in adult vaccinations, ahead of only Georgia and Alabama.

Arkansas and Mississippi aren’t doing much better, ranking 45th and 46th, respectively.

While about one in four adults in the Mid-South is fully vaccinated, states like Alaska, New Mexico, and South Dakota have vaccinated 40 percent of their adult populations.

The number of adults in the Mid-South who have received at least one dose is higher, but the rate is still far behind the rest of the nation.

For instance, 40 percent of Tennessee adults are partially vaccinated, meaning they have received at least one dose, compared to 70 percent in New Hampshire and 60 percent in New Mexico.

Experts say it’s important Americans get vaccinated before a COVID-19 variant emerges that could be resistant to the vaccines.

“It takes up back to the reality that we need to vaccinate people. That is our way out, it’s our way forward,” said Dr. Steve Threlkeld, an infectious disease specialist, at Baptist Memorial Hospital.

But news of the CDC and FDA pausing the Johnson and Johnson vaccine to investigate a possible link with rare but severe blood clots may make people more hesitant to get a vaccine.

An Economist/YouGov poll found that before the CDC/FDA pause 52 percent of Americans believed the J&J vaccine was safe.

But after the pause was announced, the number plummeted to just 37 percent.

Neither Moderna nor Pfizer has been linked to any severe blood clots.

The City of Memphis is still administering the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines and gave free gift cards to persuade people to get their shot, hoping more people will roll up their sleeves to do their part getting the world back to normal.

“We’ve seen a pretty positive response from the community,” said Tiffany Collins with the City of Memphis.

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