Michelle Fiscus, medical director of vaccine preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health, told Tennessee she was fired Monday afternoon. His dismissal comes as COVID-19 cases are on the rise in the state.
“It was my job to provide evidence-based education and access to vaccines so the people of Tennessee could protect themselves against COVID-19,” Fiscus told the newspaper in a statement. “I have now been fired for doing just that. “
The Tennessean notes that state lawmakers criticized Fiscus by name last month at a committee hearing, expressing anger at a letter she sent to medical providers about “mature minor doctrine” , which allows minors over 14 to be vaccinated without their parents. ‘consent.
This legal mechanism has been in place since 1987 and has been publicly available online since 2008.
With the termination of Fiscus, the voluntary state joins about two dozen other states that have found themselves without a higher vaccine authority, all for various reasons, but most often because the official left.
A spokeswoman for the state’s health department told the Tennessean he would not comment on Fiscus’ dismissal.
Fiscus shared a 1,200-word statement with The Tennessean after his dismissal on Monday.
In it, she wrote that she “would not sit still while our public health infrastructure is eroded in the midst of a pandemic.”
“We are a group of dedicated public health professionals who have worked endless hours to manufacture COVID-19 vaccines, the ONLY tool we have to effectively end the scourge of the COVID-19 pandemic, available to every person in our jurisdictions, ”she wrote. , lamenting how health experts have been “maligned, degraded, accused and sometimes vilified” by the public throughout the pandemic.
“I am not a political agent, I am a doctor who was, until today, responsible for protecting the people of Tennessee, including their children, against preventable diseases like COVID-19,” added Fiscus .
Tennessee Democratic Representative Gloria Johnson spoke out against Fiscus’ sacking on Twitter, writing: “Lawmakers denying TNOP science have demanded sacrifice for their anti-mask, anti-vax, anti – made and a great woman, Dr Michelle Fiscus, who worked tirelessly for the Tennesseans every day during the pandemic was fired by
@GovBillLee to appease those who deny data and research. “
Science denying TNGOP lawmakers demanded sacrifice for their anti-mask, anti-vax, anti-fact ideology and a great woman, Dr Michelle Fiscus, who worked tirelessly for the Tennesséens every day during the pandemic was dismissed by @GovBillLee to appease those who deny the data and the research.
– Gloria Johnson (@VoteGloriaJ) July 12, 2021
According to the Tennessee Department of Health’s COVID-19 dashboard, more than 870,000 cases and more than 12,000 related deaths are believed to have occurred in the state. Cases began to decline after the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines, but they have recently started to rise again. More than 500 new cases were reported last week, the first time since May.
The state’s immunization rate has remained low compared to the national rate. Less than half of Tennessee’s population – 42.5% – has received at least one injection of the COVID-19 vaccine and 38% are fully vaccinated.