MEMPHIS, Tenn. — In Monday’s Ransom Note: the politics of health care. Those words shouldn't be in the same sentence, but from face mask mandates to the governor's misstatements about the COVID vaccine, it's been par for the course in Tennessee.
Then today, without explanation, Tennessee fired its top vaccination official, Dr. Michelle Fiscus. Dr. Fiscus believes she was a scapegoat to appease state lawmakers angry about efforts to vaccinate teenagers against coronavirus. She said, “It was my job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19. I have now been terminated for doing exactly that.”
It's hard to disagree. Dr. Fiscus is the one who had the nerve to let medical providers know about the "mature minor doctrine" --created in 1987-- stating that when it comes to vaccines anyone 14 and older can get one without their parents consent, even though at the time only eight children had done so. Some Republicans were furious, even threatening to get rid of the state health department.
So the department dutifully dialed back any efforts recommending vaccines for anyone 12 or older. Apparently that wasn't enough, and today lawmakers got their pound of flesh.