Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach for teenagers and axes vaccine chief

Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach for teenagers and axes vaccine chief
Tennessee abandons vaccine outreach for teenagers and axes vaccine chief

The Tennessee Department of Health (DOH) is going to stop all vaccine outreach to minors in the state.

The drastic move comes directly from Health Commissioner Dr Lisa Piercey, according to internal documents and e-mails obtained by the Tennessean

All vaccines - not just the COVID-19 vaccine - are included in the decision. 

The DOH is making the move amidst pressure from state Republican lawmakers to scrap vaccine efforts in the state. 

It comes just two days after the state's top vaccine official, Dr Michelle Fiscus, was fired following an argument about vaccinating teens against COVID-19. 

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The Tennessee Department of Health has slashed all initiatives to get minors in the state vaccinated after allegations that they were attempting to undermine parental consent

The Tennessee Department of Health has slashed all initiatives to get minors in the state vaccinated after allegations that they were attempting to undermine parental consent

Currently, any American aged 12 or older is eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine. 

But, under the new guidelines which were described in a report on Friday and restated in a mass email to staff on Monday, any information the Tennessee DOH distributes about teenage vaccination must be stripped of official logos.   

Minors who have already received their first shot of a COVID-19 vaccine will also not receive postcards or other reminders to schedule and receive their second shot.

Additionally, schools can also no longer be used as vaccine clinics, even to give the vaccine to adults.

The department is also not to reach out at all to teens to remind them to stay on the recommended vaccine schedule, or post information regarding vaccines anywhere targeted towards teens.

Currently, 43 percent of Tennesseans have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, trailing all but five U.S. states, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Coronavirus cases are trending in the wrong direction with Volunteer State seeing a 520 percent increase over the past two weeks from 82 cases a day on June 30 to 508 cases per day on average on July 13.

More than 60 percent of cases are also believed to be linked to the highly transmissible Indian 'Delta' variant.

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The move by the DOH not affects COVID-19 vaccination but also shots for other conditions such as measles, mumps and tetanus.

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