The shutdown has an impact on all adolescent awareness, including second-dose COVID-19 boosters, HPV boosters and kindergarten vaccination surveys, according to documents released within the department obtained by CNN and first reported by The Tennessean.
The Department of Health did not respond to requests from CNN to find out whether awareness and vaccination practices on Covid -19 or other vaccinations had changed.
The move comes amid an emerging controversy in the state, which lags behind Covid-19 vaccinations, over parental consent for vaccinations.
Dr Michelle Fiscus, who says she was fired as the state’s medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccination after a row over childhood coronavirus vaccination, told CNN that she and other health officials were under pressure as vaccinations against Covid-19 became increasingly politicized.
Lawmakers quickly began to contact the health service to ask questions about the memo which some said violated parental authority. On Monday, Fiscus, who is a pediatrician, was fired from her role.
According to the documents, Fiscus would typically issue communications in August recognizing National Immunization Awareness Month, but he was told last week that Commissioner Lisa Piercey said there would be no outreach this year.
She learned that the outreach halt even included communications for school flu shots and infant vaccinations, Fiscus told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Tuesday.
Fiscus said his dismissal was a symptom of a trend in many public health departments across the country. In her statement, she sees a “tilt from the Department of Health to some of our lawmakers who felt it was inappropriate to share the mature minors doctrine that has been Tennessee Supreme Court jurisprudence since 1987”.
And the vaccine policy that started with Covid-19 has spread into more widespread distrust of all vaccines, she said.
“These viruses and bacteria that can wreak havoc in these diseases are not partisan, they don’t care who you are or who you voted for,” she said. “And the way to prevent the disease is through vaccination. ”
The National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO) told CNN in May that more than 250 public health officials had quit their jobs since the start of the pandemic – many of them against their willing and others under pressure from people opposed to public health. efforts to control the pandemic.
Fiscus said she was concerned for the safety of people in her state. “I am angry that public health is political in this state,” she told CNN. “Public health should never, ever be political,” she added.
“People across the state government are afraid of losing their jobs because of this. We are not allowed to do what is fair and evidence-based and what is recommended by the CDC and other national experts on how to handle this pandemic. As a result, our number of cases is increasing. We only have 38% of Tennessee residents vaccinated, and Delta comes from our border states of Arkansas and Missouri.
Earlier Monday, three health policy experts published a comment in the Journal of the American Medical Association’s JAMA Pediatrics, saying teens should be allowed to decide for themselves whether they should get the vaccine.
“Children and adolescents have the ability to understand and reason about low-risk, high-return health care interventions. State laws should therefore allow minors to consent to COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent, ”Larissa Morgan of the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, Jason Schwartz of Yale University and Dominic Sist of the Ethics Department University of Pennsylvania medical and health policy wrote.
“In the context of vaccination, some older minors may have a more precise understanding of the risks and benefits of a vaccine than their hesitant guardians. “
CNN’s Maggie Fox, Angela Barajas and Martin Savidge contributed to this report.