Tennessee Won't Bring in School Vaccine Mandate

Mississippi's top health officer says he is 'exhausted trying to convince folks to do stuff'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 24, 2020 7:13 PM CST
Tennessee Won't Mandate Vaccines in Its Schools
State Health Officer Dr. Thomas Dobbs, right, listens as Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves explains his rationale for not ordering a statewide mask mandate, Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020 in Jackson, Miss.   (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Tennessee’s governor says that once coronavirus vaccines become available, they will be optional in the state’s K-12 public schools. Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday that vaccines will be very important for Tennessee to "ultimately really be able to handle" the pandemic, the AP reports. But he says he doesn’t foresee vaccine mandates for school districts in Tennessee. In his words, "Vaccines are a choice and people have the choice and will have the choice in this state as to whether or not they should take that vaccine." Dr. Lisa Piercey, the state's health commissioner, says the first doses could arrive in Tennessee around Dec. 15. The first wave will be reserved for frontline health care workers and first responders. She says widespread availability would likely be in late spring or early summer.

In Mississippi, meanwhile, the state's top health official says he is exhausted trying to convince people in the state to take the coronavirus seriously and follow public health guidelines. "I'll just to confess to you guys, I’m exhausted trying to convince folks to do stuff. It’s just going nowhere," Dr. Thomas Dobbs, Mississippi’s state health officer, said Monday during a meeting with members of the Mississippi Senate. Mississippi, with a population of about 3 million, has reported more than 144,500 confirmed coronavirus cases and at least 3,729 deaths from COVID-19. Speaking to the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee on Monday, Dobbs said there is no "collective will” among the public to prevent the virus.

(More coronavirus stories.)

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