Tennessee already requires many vaccines despite pushback from TN Republicans lawmakers

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Throughout history, vaccine development is nothing new - Vaccine requirements aren’t unusual either.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – President Joe Biden is requiring millions of American workers to get a shot to counter surging COVID-19 cases.

The vaccine mandate affects large businesses, some healthcare workers, and federal contractors and is causing some blowback from Republican lawmakers and politicians in Tennessee.

Throughout history, the development of vaccines is nothing new.

“Vaccines along with antibiotics and pure water were thought to be the three major public health achievements of the 20th century and we’re developing more vaccines as we go along,” said Dr. William Schaffner, Professor of Infectious Diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Vaccine requirements aren’t unusual either.

“Vaccines are often obligatory when you want to go to daycare when you want to go to school when you want to go to college — if you enter the military if you become a healthcare provider it goes on and on,” said Schaffner.

The Tennessee Department of Health is responsible for immunization requirements for those who attend child care, pre-school, grade school, and college.

“Vaccines are obligatory because we don’t want ourselves to become ill with these diseases and we don’t want to spread these diseases,” Schaffner said.

Infants entering child care facilities must be up to date at the time of enrollment having at least 10 vaccinations including MMR and hepatitis inoculations. Those entering kindergarten must complete appropriate vaccinations which include a second shot or booster.

“In the United States, before we had measles vaccines 400 to 500 children each year died of measles and its complications the number for the past 15 or 20 years has been zero that’s powerful,” said Schaffner.

Tennessee 7th graders and college students must also be vaccinated against communicable diseases.

And when it comes to the COVID vaccine, doctors say it’s easy to figure out.

“Vaccines are good, COVID is bad, it’s a very simple equation,” said Schaffner.

There are some exemptions to Tennessee’s vaccine requirements, which include medical and religious reasons. Parents can also show alternative proof of immunity from certain diseases.

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