Tennessee Governor Bill Lee (R) has authorized sending more than $500,000 to farmers to vaccinate their cattle “against respiratory diseases and other maladies over the past two years” according to an Associated Press report, but is “far less enthusiastic about incentivizing herd immunity among humans.”
Tennesee has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with only 39.2% of the state vaccination fully vaccinated against Covid-19.
Lee has said he believes incentives for people to get the Covid-19 vaccine does not fall on the government.
“I don’t think that’s the role of government,” Lee said at the Tennessee Cattlemen’s Association annual conference on Friday. “The role of government is to make it available and then to encourage folks to get the vaccine.”
However, when asked about the incentivization for farmers to vaccinate their cattle, Casey Black, a representative for the governor, defended the state’s Covid response.
“Tennesseans have every incentive to get the COVID-19 vaccine – it’s free and available in every corner of the state with virtually no wait,” Black said in an email. “While a veterinarian can weigh in on safely raising cattle for consumption, the state will continue to provide human Tennesseans with COVID-19 vaccine information and access.”
Lee has emphasized that getting vaccinated comes down to a personal decision.
“We want to encourage Tennesseans to talk to their doctor, to talk to their clergy, to talk to their family members, the trusted voices in their life, in order for them to make a personal decision about whether or not to pursue getting the vaccine,” he said recently, “but we encourage that because it is the tool that will most effectively allow us to manage this virus.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.