Video shows a Nashville crowd booing after Jill Biden called out low COVID-19 vaccination rates in Tennessee

Jill Biden
Jill Biden speaking at the Ole Smoky distillery in Nashville, Tennessee, during a visit to promote COVID-19 vaccinations. TOM BRENNER/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
  • A crowd in Nashville booed after Jill Biden criticized Tennessee’s low vaccination rates.
  • “Well, you’re booing yourselves,” Biden said in response, drawing laughs.
  • Tennessee has some of the lowest vaccination rates in the US, thanks in part to politics and weak healthcare.
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A crowd in Nashville, Tennessee, booed as Jill Biden pointed out low COVID-19 vaccination rates in their state.

The first lady visited a vaccination clinic in the city on Tuesday on her national tour to encourage people to get vaccinated against COVID-19 as the number of people getting the shot stalls across the US.

The state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the US, according to figures from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, with only 51% of the state’s residents having received at least one shot.

-The Recount (@therecount) June 23, 2021

“This state still has a little bit of a way to go,” Biden said Tuesday to supporters who had gathered at a local distillery. “Only three in ten Tennesseans are vaccinated.”

The crowd began to boo.

“Well, you’re booing yourselves.” Biden said, drawing laughs from the crowd.

According to recent surveys, Republicans are less likely to get vaccinated than Democrats, and Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee has opposed “vaccine passports” and other measures to encourage people to get the shot.

Some state GOP lawmakers have even called for the Tennessee Health Department to be dissolved for encouraging young people to get vaccinated.

A Nashville hat shop was in the spotlight recently for selling yellow “not vaccinated” badges in the shape of a star, which resembled Star of David badges that Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

As well as partisan politics, weak healthcare systems, poverty, and pervasive mistrust of public institutions are among the underlying factors driving low vaccination rates in southern states, CNN medical analyst Kent Sepkowitz has said.