Tennessee fires top vaccine official as COVID shows signs of new spread

Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health, said she was fired on Monday afternoon and provided a copy of her termination letter. It provides no explanation for her termination.

Fiscus said she was a scapegoat who was terminated to appease state lawmakers angry about the department's efforts to vaccinate teenagers against coronavirus. The agency has been dialing back efforts to vaccinate teenagers since June...

Lawmakers were angry about a letter Fiscus sent to medical providers who administer vaccines explaining the state's “Mature Minor Doctrine,” a legal mechanism by which they are allowed to vaccinate minors above the age of 14 without consent from their parents...

Fiscus said the language in the letter was provided to her by the health department's attorney, who said at the time it had been "blessed by the governor's office."