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Opinion | At least Shelby County teenagers understand the need for the vaccine | Otis Sanford

Local students who are part of the county’s COVID-19 community council have created a public service video aimed at getting more of their peers to get the vaccine.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — It’s a good thing that Shelby County High School students are not listening to Republican state lawmakers on vaccinating teenagers against COVID-19. It’s also good that these same lawmakers and Tennessee’s governor can’t punish the teenagers the way they did a state health official for trying to encourage teens to get vaccinated.

Local students who are part of the county’s COVID-19 community council have created a public service video on social media aimed at getting more of their peer to take the life-saving shot. The focus of the PSA is to prevent teens from being quarantined which means they are missing out on activities with their friends and in-person classes. Hat’s off to the student community council and county Mayor Lee Harris’ office for working to get more teens to get the shot. 

It’s a far cry from the self-righteous bluster that several GOP legislators displayed in July over the state health department promoting the COVID vaccine to teens. The complaints by lawmakers led to the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the health department’s top vaccination official, who was simply doing her job. But she was thrown under the bus by health commissioner Lisa Piercey aided by the governor. 

Sensible people know that the vaccine is our only way out of this pandemic. That includes kids also rolling up their sleeves. Shelby County teens get it, but I cannot say the same for our state leaders. 

I’m Otis Sanford, and that’s my point of view.