On Wednesday, the Tennessean reported that Republican lawmakers in the Tennessee state legislature privately met with officials in the state health department and advised them on their controversial move ending all vaccine outreach to children.
"This behind-the-scenes meeting appears to have appeased members of the conservative supermajority, who just last month accused the Department of Health of pressuring teens to get vaccinated and proposed dissolving the agency," reported Brett Kelman. "Since then, the health department instructed staff to end all outreach about adolescent vaccinations – not just coronavirus, but for all diseases – and cancelled COVID-19 vaccination events on school property or intended specifically for teenagers."
The report revealed that several GOP lawmakers — including Sen. Kerry Roberts and Rep. John Ragan — were involved in the decision. State Democrats have furiously attacked the move, including Rep. Vincent Dixie, who accused them of "bullying" state health officials.
Dr. Amy Gordon Bono, a Nashville-area physician, called out Republicans at the hearing for leaning on the health department to end vaccine outreach.
"I feel like you are trying to silence the truth," she said, according to the Tennessean.
This earned her a rebuke from GOP Sen. Roberts, who told her that "this is not the moment in time for you to have an agenda you want to share."
The effort to scale back vaccination outreach comes as GOP leadership in Tennessee also faces blowback for the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus, the state's top expert on vaccines.
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