Republican members of the Tennessee State Senate have released a letter touting what they called the importance of COVID-19 vaccines, and they urged all Tennesseans to get one.

This, according to a press release that Tennessee Senate Republican Caucus members emailed this week.

Caucus members said recent national news coverage has painted an inaccurate picture of the approach Tennessee state government officials have taken towards the vaccine. They said in the letter that, despite recent progress in fighting COVID-19, the virus continues to spread.

“There has been a recent spike in the number of cases, which includes the virus’s more contagious delta variant,” according to the letter.

“A strong majority of these cases are among those who are not vaccinated. And virtually all of those currently hospitalized with COVID-19 have not been vaccinated.”

Every member of the Republican Caucus leadership team signed the letter. They said that if the vaccines were available from the start and widely used then we would not have lost more than 600,000 Americans.

“We are well beyond the COVID-19 vaccine trial stage,” the letter said.

“Nearly 338 million doses of the vaccines have been administered in the United States with few adverse effects. Please compare the very rare instances of side effects with the more than 600,000 deaths in the United States that have occurred due to COVID-19. The facts are clear — the benefits of the vaccines far outweigh the risks.”

The letter said state law will not require vaccine mandates for Tennesseans. Members of the Tennessee General Assembly passed legislation earlier this year that they said ensures state or local governments cannot require vaccine passports.

“Every life lost to this virus is tragic,” the letter said.

“The COVID-19 vaccines save lives. Again, we strongly urge all Tennesseans to study the facts, talk to your doctor and get vaccinated.”

Caucus members said vaccines have saved lives for more than a century.

“As a result, polio and smallpox have been eradicated and measles, mumps and rubella are rare. Building on these 20th century medical breakthroughs, the COVID-19 vaccines were developed utilizing high standards and the best medical technology available,” the letter said.

“Even the new mRNA technology, which has caused some people to be vaccine hesitant, has been around for decades. The mRNA vaccines teach your body how to make a protein that will trigger an immune response, without using a live virus. This technology is found in essentially every pharmacy, medical office and laboratory. Recombinant DNA technology has almost completely replaced insulin obtained from animal sources for the treatment of insulin-dependent diabetes with great success for over 30 years.”

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Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to chrisbutlerjournalist@gmail.com.