NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A group of Republican state senators is urging Tennesseans to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as cases rise once again.
Sixteen senators, including Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, signed a letter Tuesday strongly urging “Tennesseans who do not have a religious objection or a legitimate medical issue to get vaccinated.”
“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 letter reiterates that the state will not require vaccinations 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,” the letter reads.
The letter also says politics has had an impact on vaccinations.
“Unfortunately, efforts to get more people vaccinated have been hampered by politicization of COVID-19,” the letter states. “This should not be political.”
Sen. Jon Lundberg (R-Bristol) is among those who signed the letter. He says there are misperceptions about Tennessee Republicans’ views on vaccinations and he hopes the letter will clear those up.
“So many people have talked about COVID being a political issue. This is not a political issue. It’s a biological issue, it’s a virus,” Lundberg said. “There’s no politics involved there. And we want to clear that up and make it very clear that what we’re saying is no, we don’t believe in mandated vaccinations but that does not mean we’re against vaccinations. We strongly encourage people to make the personal decision to get vaccinated.”
Active cases in Tennessee are at their highest since February. After dropping below 1,000 last month, the state’s active case count climbed to 13,541 on Tuesday.