CLARKSVILLE, TN (CLARKSVILLE NOW) – With COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths surging in parts of the country where vaccination rates are low, Republican members of the Tennessee Senate released a letter this week urging all Tennesseans to get the vaccine.
“Although we have made progress, COVID-19 is not over,” the letter reads. “There has been a recent spike in the number of cases, which includes the virus’s more contagious Delta variant. A strong majority of these cases are among those who are not vaccinated. And virtually all of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.”
The state of Tennessee has experienced a more than 200% increase in overall COVID-19 cases since July 1, averaging more than 700 new cases per day over the last week, according to Dr. Lisa Piercey, Commissioner for the Tennessee Department of Health, in a recent briefing. Piercey said 97% of all hospitalizations and more than 98% of deaths are residents who have not received the vaccine.
The letter, signed by every member of the Republican Caucus leadership team including Sen. Bill Powers of Clarksville, points out that if the vaccines had been available from the start and widely used, the loss of over 600,000 American lives could have been avoided, according to a news release.
Here is the text of the letter:
Although we have made progress, COVID-19 is not over. There has been a recent spike in the number of cases, which includes the virus’s more contagious delta variant. A strong majority of these cases are among those who are not vaccinated. And virtually all of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.
As people across our state are exposed to the spread of this deadly virus, we strongly urge Tennesseans who do not have a religious objection or a legitimate medical issue to get vaccinated.
The vaccines have been found to be safe and effective against COVID-19. If they had been available from the start and widely used, over 600,000 American families that are mourning the loss of a loved one, along with tens of thousands of people who are awaiting lung transplants, or trying to learn to walk again, would have avoided that heartache.
Vaccines have been saving lives for over a century. As a result, polio and smallpox have been eradicated and measles, mumps and rubella are rare. Building on these 20th century medical breakthroughs, the COVID-19 vaccines were developed utilizing high standards and the best medical technology available.
Even the new mRNA technology, which has caused some people to be vaccine hesitant, has been around for decades. The mRNA vaccines teach your body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, without using a live virus. This technology is found in essentially every pharmacy, medical office and laboratory. Recombinant DNA technology has almost completely replaced insulin obtained from animal sources for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes with great success for over 30 years.
We are well beyond the COVID-19 vaccine trial stage. Nearly 338 million doses of the vaccines have been administered in the U.S. with few adverse effects. Please compare the very rare instances of side effects with the more than 600,000 deaths in the U.S. which have occurred due to COVID-19. The facts are clear — the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risks.
Under no circumstances will the state of Tennessee require mandatory vaccines or vaccine passports for adults or children. We recognize this is a personal choice. However, we urge every Tennessean to consider the benefits of the COVID-19 vaccine and talk to your doctor about their recommendations on the best way to protect yourself and your family against COVID-19.
Unfortunately, efforts to get more people vaccinated have been hampered by politicization of COVID-19. This should not be political. Tennesseans need factual information to make educated decisions regarding their health. Please consider looking at the facts which are presented by Vanderbilt University Medical Center or the New England Journal of Medicine, both which are among the most respected health resources worldwide.
Every life lost to this virus is tragic. The COVID-19 vaccines save lives. Again, we strongly urge all Tennesseans to study the facts, talk to your doctor and get vaccinated.