Tennessee Halts All Vaccination Outreach for Adolescents on Not Just COVID – But Flu, Measles, Mumps, etc… Meanwhile The Center For Inquiry Steps in for a Fight

Dr. Michelle Fiscus who oversaw the vaccination program in Tennessee against COVID-19 and other infectious diseases was fired for following state law. She ran into politicians who believed disinformation about vaccines. After her termination Tennessee halted all vaccinations for adolescents. This includes diseases like flu, measles, mumps, and other infectious disease. The Center for Inquiry which is tied to Richard Dawkins got involved in pushing back, defending science, and calling for the reinstatement of Dr. Michelle Fiscus.

“I am not a political operative, I am a physician who was, until today, charged with protecting the people of Tennessee … against preventable diseases.”

Dr, Michelle Fiscus

RR201613

Center for Inquiry at the Reason Rally in Washington, D.C. 

Two days ago the progress of conspiracy theories in the United States reached a disturbing new height. So this blog learned of it and found it troubling. And yet the Center For Inquiry, which is Richard Dawkins organizations is stepping into the gap to advocate and call for vaccination and science to be trusted, and calling for Dr. Michelle Fiscus to be reinstated. 

Dr. Michelle Fiscus Is Fired for Following State Laws on Vaccination and All Vaccination Efforts for Adolescents are Halted 

The top vaccine official for the state of Tennessee was fired for following a law about vaccination and after an argument about it. Dr. Michelle Fiscus is a pediatrician who ran vaccination efforts in Tennessee for two years and was responsible for implementation. What happened is that she shared a memo that allowed for teenagers to request vaccination if they were between the ages of 14 and 17 without consent. This policy is based off a Tennessee Supreme Court decision in 1987 that stated that if an adolescent is mature enough and act responsibly they do not consent. Dr. Fiscus prepared a memo after following the Tennessee Department of Health’s General Counsel. Members of the Tennessee legislature which bought into disinformation criticized Dr. Fiscus. Some called for the Tennessee Department of Health to be dismantled. Tennessee Governor Bill Lee appeared to be the one who fired Dr. Fiscus. Tennessee press who tried to question the governor on the firing refused to respect the press or answer questions on the situation. This happens while a surge in the Delta variant is increasing in Tennessee, which is also toward the bottom of all states when it comes to vaccination. When fired Dr. Fiscus wrote a scathing response expressing her concern about the politicization of public health. 

“There is a fundamental lack of the ability to discern credible information in the state of Tennessee amongst our leaders as well. They don’t seem to be able to tell the difference between a Facebook meme and a peer-reviewed scientific journal publication. And until we get back to teaching critical thinking skills, it’s going to be really hard to defeat this,” warned Fiscus. “Vaccine hesitant individuals are people…open to talking about the facts. If for me to share the information that I have, and to take that and listen to it and look at people like myself as experts in the field.

After Dr. Fiscus’s removal the Tennessee Department of Health stopped all vaccination outreach for infectious disease for adolescents. That includes such diseases as measles, mumps, rubella, flu, HPV among others. If you want to read some press on this issue please look at the following articles below. 

  1. NPR, “She Says She Was Fired For Saying That Teens Don’t Need Parental Consent For Vaccines.” 
  2. NBC News, “Top Tennessee health official says she was fired after efforts to get teens vaccinated.” 
  3. Market Watch, “Ex-Tennessee vaccination official says her firing put politics over health.” 
  4. The Middletown Press, “Records reveal Tennessee’s claims for firing vaccine leader.” 
  5. CNN, “Tennessee’s vaccine manager says she’s worried for her state after she was fired.” 
  6. CNN, “Tennessee is halting outreach on all vaccines for adolescents, including for Covid-19.” 
  7. Yahoo News, “Fired Tennessee vaccine official got glowing reviews before being terminated.” 
  8. WKRN, “Fired Tennessee vaccine official fears ‘people will not pay attention to common sense, medical science’ after state halts vaccination messaging.” 

Center for Inquiry Reacts to Tennessee Halting Vaccination Outreach

On July 13, 3021 the Center for Inquiry released a statement and condemned the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus. In the process the Center for Inquiry stated that vaccine hostility is leading to lives being lost in the pandemic. Here is part of what has ben said. 

Dr. Michelle Fiscus, medical director for the state of Tennessee’s Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization program, was fired this week for doing her job. The Center for Inquiry is demanding that she be reinstated, and for the government of Tennessee to prioritize the health and safety of its people over scoring political points with anti-vaccine misinformation.

As reported by The Tennessean, Dr. Fiscus, a practicing pediatrician before her time in government, had written a memo to medical professionals reminding them that, according to Tennessee law, mature minors between the ages of 14 and 18 are eligible to consent to vaccinations against COVID-19, without needing permission from parents or guardians. Conservative politicians in the state found Dr. Fiscus’s efforts to protect young Tennesseans from a terrible disease unacceptable, leading to her being forced out of her position. 

In a statement following her termination, Dr. Fiscus revealed that this anti-vaccination zealotry within state government extended well beyond the issue of whether mature minors can consent to receiving vaccines. The leadership of the Tennessee Department of Health was “halting ALL vaccination outreach for children,” she wrote. “Not just COVID-19 vaccine outreach for teens, but ALL communications around vaccines of any kind,” including messaging around measles, HPV, or reminders for teens to get their second COVID-19 vaccine doses.

“Tennessee’s irrational hostility toward vaccines by government officials who should know better is mind-boggling, and it’s costing lives,” said Robyn Blumner, president and CEO of the Center for Inquiry. “Vaccinations are the only way out of this pandemic, and they are the only way to prevent a litany of other diseases that once ravaged populations. Dr. Fiscus was fired not for taking some radical position, but for encouraging doctors to keep their patients safe according to the law in Tennessee that allows mature minors to give consent for vaccines. We demand her reinstatement.” 

As we state in our letter to Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey and Gov. Bill Lee, we implore them not to treat this situation as a political battle, and instead look to the health and safety of all Tennesseans and all Americans. We demand that Dr. Fiscus be returned to her position, “and those seeking to spread the lies and misinformation about this life-saving medical intervention must, instead, be exposed as the charlatans that they are.”

The statement on the website can be access in, “CFI Condemns Tenn. Vaccine Official’s Firing; Anti-Vaccine Hostility is Costing Lives.” 

The Center for Inquiry’s legal director then sent a letter to Gove Lee of Tennessee and Commissioner Lisa Piercey of the Tennessee Department of Health. Here is how the Center for Inquiry ends their letter by calling for Dr. Fiscus to be reinstated. 

As you well know, vaccines work. The covid vaccines work. We implore you to stop treating this
situation as a political battle, and instead look to the health and safety of all Tennesseans and all
Americans. Dr. Fiscus was fired for doing her job, trying to get as many Tennesseans as possible
vaccinated. She must be allowed to return to her position and her work, and those seeking to spread
the lies and misinformation about this life-saving medical intervention must, instead, be exposed
as the charlatans that they are

You can read the entire letter in, CFITennesseeFiscus

This Blog Encourages Vaccination and Disinformation Needs to be Combatted 

This afternoon the Surgeon General of the United States issued an advisory calling health misinformation an “urgent threat.” Vivek Murthy said the following, “Health misinformation is an urgent threat to public health,” as, “It can cause confusion, sow distrust, and undermine public health efforts, including our ongoing work to end the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Surgeon General cited that 67% of those unvaccinated bought into misinformation, according to a study from Kaiser. The United States needs to step up and address disinformation. That in a way is what this post is about. Playing my part in correcting disinformation which is pervasive on the internet. This blog appreciates the Center for Inquiry for getting involved in this situation and hopes they will do more. If necessary maybe legal action can help address some of these issues and reveal transparency and motive for Dr. Fiscus’ firing. The fact of the matter is that we are going to have a resurgence of infectious disease. We’re dealing with CVID-19 right now. We are also at risk of having outbreaks for measles, mumps, and so many other infectious diseases. The conquering of polio by Jonas Salk was a medical marvel on the 20th century. Children’s lives were saved by Salk’s vaccines. There were children who went into iron lungs for the reminder of their life because they were polarized and could not breath. Why the hell would anyone want to go back to those days? Who wants to see outbreak of measles in the modern United States. Come on, that’s something you see in a failed state like Pakistan. It is for this reason this blog admires and respects the Center for Inquiry and calls on them to stay in the fight against disinformation. The beautiful aspect of atheism is that they take science very seriously. And that in itself is encouraging. If you read this post and you’re debating vaccination. Get vaccinated. Many people who are dying now do not have to die. We have the means of ending this pandemic. Let’s all get vaccinated.  

25 thoughts on “Tennessee Halts All Vaccination Outreach for Adolescents on Not Just COVID – But Flu, Measles, Mumps, etc… Meanwhile The Center For Inquiry Steps in for a Fight

  1. The conquering of polio by Jonas Salk was a medical marvel on the 20th century. Children’s lives were saved by Salk’s vaccines.

    From ExtraHistory on YouTube:

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  2. Do keep in mind, DB., there’s now a long, long history of the vaccinations typically used for children. There is NO HX of the Covid Vaccinations and since kids do not die from Covid, why would you risk it? Give it time; give it time. Let’s see what we know about the Covid vaccinations in the next 5 years.

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      • Basically not DB. You do know, of course that a small number of children die from or are impaired by the common vaccinations that have been around for years. As I have said time and time again; all medicines/vaccines carry side effects. Generally they are small but what is true – medicines can kill you; just watch the ads on TV whenever they announce a new medicine.

        IN the next few years we will know more. As I pointed out in my case; I now have permanent tinnitus in one of my ears from the vaccination. But I’m an old guy; was willing to roll the medical dice.

        Let’s not vaccinate the kids just yet. That’s my [ and a lot of other physicians’ ] opinion.

        Like

      • Actually Seneca younger people are dying in the variant upsurge.

        To which the reply is “ALL FAKE NEWS(TM)!”

        The Dwarfs are for the Dwarfs, and Won’t Be Taken In.

        Like

    • Sure. Give it time, so more variants can spawn.
      Where I live, children 12 and up are approved for Pfizer.
      My 12 year old son is on deck for his second shot.
      Teens are dying from the delta variant & now there’s a lambda variant as well.
      How do you think the “long history” started? With no history at all.
      Yes, medicines have side effects. I take one with a potentially nasty side effect.
      But without it, I’d damage my body and die.
      By law, all side effects must be disclosed. This so the minority & their care givers can act.

      Babies can’t be vaccinated. But are vulnerable when herd immunity is compromised. Have you seen a baby with whooping cough? It’s nasty.

      Anti vax rhetoric coming from a guy who was one of the first in line to get his dose. That’s rich.

      Your anti vax cred was worthless the minute you took the jab.

      Like

      • Have you seen a baby with whooping cough? It’s nasty.

        A couple years ago, Greater Los Angeles had its first Whooping Cough Outbreak in close to a century. In an upscale suburb in the San Fernando Valley. (Hey, at least they didn’t get autism from the vaccine.)

        When it happened, several news outlets published a survey regarding childhood vaccination rates in Greater LA. Knowing the area from growing up there, except for a couple anomalies the lowest vaxx rates were in the rich “Yuppie Puppy” areas and the highest in the Hispanic immigrant-rich South LA slums. (South LA was called South Central before the Rodney King Riots and Watts before the Watts Riots.)

        Your anti vax cred was worthless the minute you took the jab.

        “I Got Mine,
        I Got Mine,
        I don’t want a thing to change
        Now that I Got Mine!”
        — Glenn Frey

        Remember anti-vaxx is the latest Litmus Test of your Salvation.
        “WHOSE SIDE ARE YOU ON? GAWD OR SATAN?????”

        Like

  3. My 55 year old friend posted this:
    “I had an anaphylactic reaction to the second shot (Pfizer). Three trips to the ER, and then admitted to St. Vincent’s where they pumped me full of antihistamines and steroids. That was 3 months ago”

    Like

    • So what? I had the myocarditis after my first jab. Still went for second one – no issues. My wife had two shots no issues, my son, one shot no issues.

      If he got covid, your friend would probably be dead.

      And yet with all this risk, you still drank from that devils cup and took the mark. You. Had. The. Vaccine.

      Any anti vax crap you toss out now is hypocrisy.

      Liked by 1 person

      • And yet with all this risk, you still drank from that devils cup and took the mark. You. Had. The. Vaccine.

        You took The Mark of The Beast (on both arms)!
        You turned yourself into a Nephilim!

        Like

    • Again so what? Without herd immunity, schools will become breeding grounds for new variants. And nobody knows the long term effects of a sub clinical infections are.

      So you can protect yourself but I should not protect my son.

      Repeat after me “I. Took. The. Vaccine”

      Your anti vax credentials are worthless.

      Your hypocrisy credits are rising, though.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Herd Immunity is simple:
        Infect everybody, let God sort them out, and the survivors will have herd immunity.

        “You’ll develop, you’ll develop herd, like a herd mentality. It’s going to be, it’s going to be herd-developed, and that’s going to happen. That will all happen.”
        — Trump 3:16 (i.e. SCRIPTURE!)

        Like

  4. How can this Medieval mindset take hold in 21st century America?
    Western Civilization has a long history of vaccination to stem the tides of diseases which if left to themselves, would wipe us out.
    What is the matter with Tennessee?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Here’s the kicker. We’ve lived with herd immunity for so long that no one is really sure that the vaccine series administered to me in the seventies is still viable.

      I understand there were some folks vaccinated in the days of yore that were infected with measles.

      If that’s the case then we may have embark on booster shots for us older people.

      Measles is bad enough but polio? That’s a scary one.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Measles is bad enough but polio? That’s a scary one.

        See my video link at the top of this thread.

        Like

    • What is the matter with Tennessee?

      Link from Professor Fea’s blog at Current:

      “In many COVID hot spots, a pattern: High concentrations of white evangelicals”
      https://religionnews.com/2021/07/15/in-covid-hot-spots-a-pattern-high-concentrations-of-white-evangelicals/

      Can’t find the source, but someone else did a county-by-county correlation of 2020 Presidential Election results with vaxx rates and it was almost a direct correlation: Vaxx rates correlated closely with county’s percentage for Biden. The higher Biden’s percentage, the higher the vaxx rate; the higher Trump’s percentage, the lower the vaxx rate. And since White Evangelicals are Trump’s base, the most fanatical of Trump fanatics…

      Like

      • Here’s something else to ponder. If herd immunity is compromised, and the older vaccine series are comprised then measles, mumps, diphtheria, polio etc now have a virgin population to play in.

        The indigenous peoples of North America were decimated by imported diseases their populations had never been exposed to before they set eyes on a European. Made colonization easier.

        And we may be primed to repeat history. Maybe not as destructive with modern medicine but certainly with avoidable suffering.

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      • If herd immunity is compromised, and the older vaccine series are comprised then measles, mumps, diphtheria, polio etc now have a virgin population to play in.

        “But ME and My Precious Mini-Me WON’T Get Autism from the Vaccine Poison!”

        Like

    • How can this Medieval mindset take hold in 21st century America?

      1) “Nobody Ever Gets Polio/Diptheria/Whooping Cough/Smallpox Any More.”
      2) “‘Science’ Falsely So-Called or WORD! OF!! GAWD!!! BIBLE! BIBLE!! BIBLE!!! BIBLE!!!! BIBLE!!!!!”

      Note that in the abovementioned chart of vaxx rates in LA, the richer and tonier the neighborhood, the lower the vaxx rate and the more Anti-Vaxx Activists. The poorer the neighborhood (which in LA means a lot of expats from Third World countries where those diseases still spread), the higher the vaxx rate.

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    • The vaccine hasn’t been approved for 8 year olds. So no one is pushing for their vaccination.

      As I said without herd immunity the efforts of public health will be useless.

      Allowing the schools to become virus reservoirs is a public health risk.

      Your message is mixed. Save the aged but not the kids. However herd immunity among the most socially active segment of our society does protect the aged.

      You want to denigrate vaccination while rationalizing your own decision to take the vaccine.

      At best it’s nonsensical, at worst selfish.

      Jack “the reasonable one” says drily.

      Liked by 1 person

      • As I said without herd immunity the efforts of public health will be useless.

        “EVERYBODY!!! STAY LOCKED DOWN!!! FOREVER!!!”

        Like

      • Your message is mixed. Save the aged but not the kids.

        More like “Save MEEEEEEEEEEE!”

        Remember this guy got the boot on a couple church abuse blogs because of indifference towards victims.

        However herd immunity among the most socially active segment of our society does protect the aged.

        Two years ago, I heard the same about how best to target flu vaccination. Normally flu vaccines target the aged because they’re higher risk if infected. But some were proposing targeting the young (like schoolchildren) as they are the main vectors for spread.

        Like

      • The Perpetual Pandemic.

        As our lightweight of a Governor puts it, “WE CAN NEVER GO BACK TO NORMAL! THIS IS THE NEW NORMAL! AAANGST! AAAAANGST!! AAAAAAAAANGST!!!”

        Like

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