The top vaccine official for the state of Tennessee said Monday she was fired after an argument over vaccinating children against coronavirus.
Now Dr. Michelle Fiscus, a pediatrician who has served as the state’s medical director of the vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization for two years, said she is afraid for the people of her state – which is already lagging in vaccination against the virus.
“It is just astounding to me how absolutely political and self-centered our elected people are here and how very little they care for the people of Tennessee,” Fiscus told CNN in a telephone interview
Fiscus said she and other health officials have been under pressure, but the final straw was what should have been an innocuous memo citing Tennessee state law about whether minors may get medical care without their parents’ permission.
In 41 states, minors must have the consent of a parent or guardian to be immunized but Tennessee is one of five states that has a “mature minor doctrine” that allows health care providers to decide if any child has the capacity to consent to vaccination themselves.
Four other states and Washington, DC set an age cutoff for a minor to decide without a parent or guardian.
Fiscus said all she did was share the memo that laid out a decades-old state policy.
“A recipient of that memo was upset that, according to Tennessee Supreme Court case law, minors ages 14-17 years are able to receive medical care in Tennessee without parental consent and posted the memo to social media,” Fiscus said in a statement.