Dr. Lisa Piercey

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 […]

Tennessee State Capitol (Photo: John Partipilo)

Governor’s administration made state medical director scapegoat for anti-vaxxers

BY: - July 13, 2021

One of Tennessee’s leading medical experts was fired this week, taking the fall for Gov. Bill Lee, when his administration caved in to ultra-conservative lawmakers upset with the state’s COVID-19 vaccine messaging toward teens. The department fired Dr. Shelley Fiscus, state director for vaccine-preventable and infectious diseases, even though she had been working at the […]

Members of the Tennessee General Assembly on the floor of the House of Representatives. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Republican lawmakers threaten to dissolve Health Department over child vaccines

BY: - June 17, 2021

GOP legislators came close Wednesday to dumping the Tennessee Department of Health after accusing it of targeting minors for mass vaccinations without parental consent. Instead, the Government Operations Committee ordered Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey to soften the state’s efforts to vaccinate children, mainly by bringing parents into the fold, and report back in July. Republican […]

A Department of Health and Human Services employee holds a COVID-19 vaccine record card Nov. 13, 2020, in Washington D.C. The cards will be sent out as part of vaccination kits from Operation Warp Speed, which is an effort by several U.S. government components and public partnerships to facilitate the development, manufacturing and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics. (DoD photo by EJ Hersom)

Piercey to face raft of childhood immunization questions

BY: - June 16, 2021

The chairman of the House Government Operations Committee appears ready to grill Tennessee’s Health Department commissioner over childhood immunization policy, potentially to overturn the state’s mature minor doctrine. Rep. John Ragan, an Oak Ridge Republican, sent a list of questions June 12 to the Department of Health requesting that Commissioner Lisa Piercey be prepared to […]

Patient Annette Hanna-Campbell, 72, gets the vaccine from Medical Assistant Molly Flores. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy requires out-of-silo thinking

BY: - March 26, 2021

Disappointing but not surprising that the muddled public health messaging from the Lee administration is now playing out in low rates of vaccination in many rural Tennessee counties. Moreover, Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey is warning of signs of another surge and saying the state is conducting market research to figure out a public […]

(Photo: Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

New guidance from Tennessee officials says hospitals cannot limit vaccines to existing patients

BY: - January 22, 2021

Tennessee hospitals may no longer restrict their still-limited supply of vaccine only to established patients under new guidance issued by the Tennessee Department of Health, Dr. Lisa Piercey, commissioner, said Friday in a briefing with reporters. “For hospitals to continue vaccinating on a forward going basis we have asked them … to do a few […]

Gov. Bill Lee addressing the surge in COVID-19 cases and the vaccine at his regular press briefing. (Photo: Sam Stockard)

Tennessee Department of Health Commissioner Piercey urges Tennesseans to forego even home gatherings

BY: - December 20, 2020

Officials from the Tennessee Department of Health unveiled data Sunday afternoon showing the rise in COVID-19 cases filling the state’s hospitals, and intensive care units in particular, and strongly urged Tennesseans’ to forego any social gatherings even in the home.  “As you know, the latest numbers we’ve been dealing with are very dramatic and are […]

Dr. Bruce Randolph, MPH. Director, Shelby County Public Health Department, at a Dec. 5 press conference (Photo: Shelby County Health Department)

White House task force issue urgent message to state officials, who so far have refused to heed it

BY: - December 18, 2020

The White House Coronavirus Task Force repeated an urgent admonition to Tennessee public health officials this week: “All public health officials must make clear that if you are over 65 or with significant health conditions, you should not enter any indoor public spaces where anyone is unmasked due to the immediate risk to your health; […]

(Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

Six school districts require teachers in class after COVID-19 exposure

BY: - August 17, 2020

Beth Brown, president of the Tennessee Education Association, has been fielding increasingly anxious calls from teacher-members, some who learned last week their school districts had adopted a policy requiring employees potentially exposed to coronavirus to report to work instead of isolating at home. In at least six districts across Tennessee, educators have been told they […]