Tennessee Governor Bill Lee defends Michelle Fiscus’s dismissal as the state’s vaccine chief.
Michelle Fiscus, the state’s former vaccine chief, was fired last week, and Tennessee Republican Governor Bill Lee supported her dismissal.
According to the Associated Press, Fiscus claims she was fired because of GOP lawmakers’ outrage over her handling of state outreach attempts about COVID-19 vaccines for children. When reporters pressed Lee for details on Fiscus’ termination, he remained silent.
“The government must give information and education, as well as access to those children’s parents,” Lee said. “That was the department’s decision. I trust the department to make decisions that are consistent with the vision when it comes to specific personnel decisions.”
Lee went up for the first time on Thursday regarding Fiscus’ dismissal, claiming that state Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey failed to inform him of the reasons for her dismissal.
Some Republicans were outraged when Fiscus sent a memo earlier this year regarding the state’s Mature Minor Doctrine, which permits adolescents 14 and older to choose to be vaccinated without the agreement of a guardian.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
Lee also defended his administration’s pullback of kid vaccine outreach, which has attracted national criticism, along with Fiscus’ firing, over Tennessee’s COVID-19 inoculation efforts.
Because of Fiscus’s marketing, some MPs have threatened to disband the Health Department.
Lee urged Tennesseans to get a COVID-19 immunization because the state has consistently had some of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, while emphasizing that it is a personal decision.
The government’s job in the vaccine, he said, is to “give knowledge, provide education, provide access, and provide the vaccine,” not to “mandate, force, blame, or shame individuals who choose not to.”
“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 lives, to make a personal decision about whether or not to pursue getting the vaccine, but we encourage it because it is the tool that will most effectively allow us to manage this virus,” Lee said, breaking his weeks-long silence on the subject. This is a condensed version of the information.