First lady Jill Biden received boos from a crowd of supporters in Nashville, Tenn., at a pop-up vaccination site after she criticized the state’s low vaccination rate, the Tennessean reports.
Mrs. Biden arrived in Nashville on Tuesday to tour a vaccine site at Ole Smokey Distillery organized by Kroger Health and Made to Save, a nonprofit organization that provided doses of the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
While the event attracted a large crowd of already vaccinated people, it only saw a few dozen vaccine recipients that day. Just 41% of people in Tennessee have received even one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, the sixth-lowest rate of all 50 states.
“This state still has a little bit of a way to go,” Biden told the crowd on Tuesday. “Only three in 10 Tennesseans are vaccinated.”
The crowd booed in response.
“Well, you are booing yourselves,” Biden said, which made some laugh.
She went on to say she couldn’t understand the amount of mistrust and misinformation about vaccines, which she repeatedly noted are safe, effective, and available free of charge. These comments brought about cheers from the audience.
“You know what the vaccines mean for your family and your friends and your neighbors,” Biden said. “You know they are saving lives. You know the vaccines are the only way to get back to the open mics and the music festivals and the concerts that make this town so very special.”
Country music star Brad Paisley, another advocate for vaccination and a vocal critic of the politicization of the COVID-19 pandemic, was also at the event. He performed several songs and spoke about John Prine, the legendary country and folk singer-songwriter who died of COVID-19 last year.
“If I had a time machine, I would go back to November, I would give him that vaccine, and he would be here,” Paisley said.
“Of course, we can’t do that,” he added. “All we have is the future. Let’s save whoever is next.”
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