Metro Public Healthy Molly Shine preps a vaccine while sisters Maya and Sara Gana wait at a recent Nashville mobile vaccine clinic. (Photo: John Partipilo)
The Tennessee Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics issued a statement Tuesday firing back to Gov. Bill Lee’s executive order giving parents of school children the ability to opt out of school mask requirements, saying the group “strongly disagrees” with Lee.
“We implore all parents to continue to send their children to school masked. For children who are eligible to be vaccinated, we implore parents to get them vaccinated as well. Studies show that layered protections, including masking, allow children to continue to learn in-person and that, when these guidelines are followed, schools are not a significant source of COVID transmission. A failure to mask all children while indoors puts all children at risk,” said the statement in part.
“We are seeing more COVID cases and hospitalizations in children than at any other time during this pandemic. It is critically important, now more than ever, that we do all that we can to keep our children safe and healthy, especially children under 12 years of age who are not yet eligible for vaccination. A child’s health should never be political.”
Dr. Jason Yaun, Outpatient General Pediatrics Division Chief at University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis and vice-president of AAP-Tennessee has weighed in on Twitter since Lee issued the new order on Monday.
“The @TNAAPChapter supports universal masking in ALL schools and vaccination for those eligible. We disagree with EO 84 and statements that ‘this is an adult problem.’ A child’s health is not political. We request a meeting to discuss the situation on the ground and EO 84,” Yuan tweeted Tuesday afternoon.
The AAP is a nonprofit organization that serves as an advocate and authority for the physical, mental and social wellbeing of infants, children, adolescents and the pediatricians who care for them.
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