Commissioner Lisa Piercey

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Griffey stance conflicts with Senate leadership

BY: - July 27, 2021

Rep. Bruce Griffey says he’s not “anti-vax,” yet he is one of a growing number of legislators leery of masks and vaccination campaigns and gaining a bigger voice in the General Assembly. In fact, the Paris Republican believes only a small group of people should take the shots, those over 60 with co-morbidities. That outlook […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle Fiscus prepares for an interview in her Williamson County home. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: Republican lawmakers split over Fiscus firing

BY: - July 23, 2021

The group of anti-vax legislators whose complaints about the Department of Health vaccine campaign led to the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus won’t say much about her termination. But there is a clear break between that group and others who think the state made the wrong move. The topic is so sensitive that most lawmakers […]

Rep. John Ragan, R-Oak Ridge, center, and Sen. Kerry Roberts, right, chair the Joint Government Operations Committee. (Photo: John Partipilo)

State lawmakers urge against push to vaccinate children

BY: - July 21, 2021

Two Tennessee lawmakers who chair the Joint Government Operations Committee warned schools Wednesday not to “bully,” “cajole” or “coerce” students to be vaccinated. In a rare crowded gathering for the panel, Sen. Kerry Roberts, R-Springfield, co-chairman of the committee, sought to head off upheaval over the recent firing of the state’s chief immunization officer Dr. […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle Fiscus (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: The curious case of Dr. Fiscus

BY: - July 16, 2021

We began the week in the soap opera that is Tennessee with the firing of the Tennessee Department of Health’s chief immunization director.  Dr. Michelle “Shelley” Fiscus, a pediatrician by training, was unceremoniously sacked on Monday after four years of service with the state. Fiscus said her termination letter gave no reason for her firing […]

COMMENTARY
Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Stockard on the Stump: State spent millions on vaccine campaign that helped cost Fiscus her job

BY: - July 16, 2021

Tennessee spent $11.4 million on public service campaigns designed to battle COVID-19. The only thing it cost the state to fire its chief immunologist was a lot of embarrassment. Using coronavirus relief funds, the state paid Designsensory $8.9 million for messaging to encourage mask wearing and social distancing early in the pandemic. Once vaccines were […]

Members of the House and Senate Democratic Caucus, including Sen. Jeff Yarbro, left, and Sen. Raumesh Akbari, next to him, slammed Gov. Bill Lee for the political firing of a leading health official. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Democrats slam governor over firing of immunology chief

BY: - July 14, 2021

Two days after Tennessee’s chief immunologist was fired under pressure from anti-vax lawmakers, Democratic leaders blasted the governor for failing to take responsibility for the state’s vaccination policy. “I think it’s an abdication of leadership,” state Sen. Raumesh Akbari said during an online press conference. Democrats expressed shock that the Department of Health and Lee […]

Screen grab of Gov. Bill Lee at Wednesday's press briefing.

Gov. Lee encourages Tennesseans to maintain social distancing as COVID-19 increases

BY: - June 11, 2020

Gov. Bill Lee said Wednesday that the rise in COVID-19 cases statewide was expected as stay-at-home orders lifted and many Tennesseans returned to work. But Lee and his top health adviser cautioned that social distancing is still vital to addressing the pandemic and hinted at plans to expand testing. Through the end of the day […]

(Maskot/Getty Images)

Tennessee’s contact tracing efforts under fire from right and left, but state says effort going well so far

BY: - June 2, 2020

Two months ago, the Tennessee Department of Health’s contact tracing program was merely a simplistic, uncontroversial tool to prevent the spread of highly contagious diseases. If a college student contracted a sexually transmitted disease, contact tracers from the health department would reach out to the student’s partners to inform them they had been exposed. If […]