NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — First lady Jill Biden travelled to Tennessee's capitol city Wednesday to encourage Americans once more to roll up their sleeves and get their COVID-19 booster shot ahead of the upcoming holiday season.
Biden's visit came the same day as the U.S. announced that children as young as 5 were now available for the updated COVID-19 boosters. The first lady was also scheduled to attend a fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee while in Nashville.
“Thank you all for coming out here today and getting your COVID update," Biden said at the pop-up vaccination clinic at Nashville's St. James Missionary Baptist Church. “It's so important that we keep all Americans healthy.”
Pastor George Brooks told the crowd that the church has hosted vaccination events every month since March 2021.
“Our doors are always open for persons to come in here as long as the Health Department wants to come,” Brooks said.
Experts have urged people to get their boosters, but many Americans have appeared tired of the several calls to do so. As of last month, the Centers for Disease Control reported that just 4.4 million Americans have received the updated COVID-19 booster shot.
That resistance is particularly striking in Republican-dominant Tennessee, where the Department of Health reports just 23.6% of the state's population of nearly 7 million has received a booster dose of the vaccine. In more liberal leaning Nashville, nearly 31% of the city's population has reported getting their booster shot.
“People need to get out and have it. Nashville has done a great job with vaccinations, particularly compared to national or state averages,” said Nashville Mayor John Cooper. “Everyone going and getting up to date contributes to that.”
Kimberlee Kruesi, The Associated Press