Fired For Doing Her Job

It was Michelle Fiscus’s duty, as the state’s top vaccine official, to educate Tennesseans about COVID-19 vaccine protocols, NPR reports.
 
“I am not a political operative, I am a physician who was, until today, charged with protecting the people of Tennessee…,” she wrote in a scathing statement.
 
But she was fired, Fiscus says, for telling health providers—in keeping with a decades-old state law—that teens ages 14–17 don’t need parental consent to receive COVID-19 vaccines.
 
The firing is one element of a wide-reaching conflict between Republican lawmakers and state health officials.
 
38% of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, 10% lower than the US total. But amid pushback from lawmakers, Tennessee is stopping all vaccination outreach–-not just COVID-19 vaccines–-for teens and children.
 
Stories like Fiscus’ are not unique in the COVID era. But a recent federal court ruling in Maine may shore up protections for health professionals who speak out, by requiring employers to revise policies that bar workers from talking to the press and posting on social media, Undark reports.

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