Dr. Michelle Fiscus

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. Katrina Green of Nashville. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Commentary: State leaders own responsibility for low vaccination rates

BY: - July 26, 2021

Working in the hospital on the front lines of the pandemic caused by the SARS-Cov-2 (COVID-19) virus last winter was the hardest thing I’d ever had to do as a physician. We were experiencing a massive surge of sick COVID-19 positive patients in the emergency department, many of whom were so ill they required high […]

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 […]

COMMENTARY
Dr. Michelle "Shelley" Fiscus, photographed in her home on July 15, 2021. (Photo: John Partipilo)

Fired immunization director never saw letter recommending termination

BY: - July 15, 2021

The Department of Health fired its director of the immunization program for several reasons, including failure to consult superiors on the state’s vaccine program, according to a letter placed in her personnel file. But Dr. Michelle Fiscus, who was terminated Monday, says she didn’t know about the letter written by Dr. Tim Jones on July […]

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 […]

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 […]