Monday, March 22, 2021

Why is Tennessee one of the five states with the lowest percentage of the adult population getting vaccinated for Covid-19?

National Review, Morning Jolt newsletter, March 22, 2021

On most list ranking states in things that matters, the state of Tennessee either excels or is near the middle of the pack. It was not always that way. Up until about thirty or forty years ago, we had to say, 'thank God for Mississippi." We were next to the last or third from the bottom on education attainment, poverty, and all kinds of rankings. Tennessee, Alabama and Mississippi could be counted on to bring up the rear. We slowly started moving up in rankings, then accelerated our assent and now we have very little of which to be ashamed and some reasons to be proud. 

For years, when we did score low, if one could discount Memphis, our ranking on all sorts of list would have been much higher. Since Memphis borders Mississippi anyway, I have wondered if we could not just give Memphis to Mississippi.

On some measures, Nashville does well, much better than Memphis.  However, on measures of responsible financial governance Nashville scores very low, even lower than Memphis.

I know someone in the age group below my age group who lives in Carroll County Tennessee and I know she got her vaccine months before that age group got the vaccine here in Nashville.  I have family in Sevier County and they got their vaccine earlier than the same age group in Nashville.   

I know Memphis and Shelby County have had problems administering the vaccine program.  Thousands of does in Shelby County had to be thrown out because they were allowed to expire and at one time Shelby County was sitting on a stockpile of 30,000 more doses than they needed in stockpile (link). Recently the State took away from Shelby County the function of administering the vaccine program in Memphis and gave Memphis that responsibility.  For some reason that is not reassuring.

Most county health departments operate under the direct supervision of the Tennessee Department of Health,  The six larger, urban counties, Madison, Shelby, Knox, Davidson, Hamilton and Sullivan, have health departments that operate under local governance.  I don't know, but am betting that the health departments ran by the State did a better job than those ran by local governments.  Especially, I would speculate that Shelby and Davidson County performed poorly.

Once things have settled down, I think the State should hold hearings and investigate the reason Tennessee is one of the five worst states for immunizing its citizens. Also, we should look at the policies used in Tennessee to see if they were administered fairly and uniformly.  Why, for instance, were small stores that sold greeting cards forced to close but one could still go to Kroger and buy greeting cards?  Why were Black Lives Matter/Antifa protestors allowed to mingle in large numbers without social distancing yet sporting events were banned?  Were religious liberties trampled contrary to constitutional provisions?

Unfortunately, we no longer have a press with the manpower or the curiosity to ask these questions. If I ran a news organization with the capacity to do so, I would be asking.

Depending on what a State investigation reveals, it may be time to bring all county health departments under the direct supervision of the State. 

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