Tennessee fires top vaccination official amid pandemic

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FILE – In this Jan. 18, 2021, file photo, a vial of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against COVID-19 is prepared at a vaccination center of the 3rd district, in Paris. Japan’s COVID-19 vaccinations are beginning Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, after the government granted belated first approval to a shot co-developed by Pfizer Inc. that the United States and many other countries started using two months ago.(AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee officials have fired the state’s top vaccination official, who had been facing scrutiny from Republican state lawmakers over her department’s outreach efforts to vaccinate teenagers against COVID-19.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus with the Tennessee Department of Health, tells The Tennessean that she was fired Monday as a scapegoat to appease lawmakers.

She provided the newspaper with a copy of her termination letter, which does not explain the reasoning for her dismissal.

Health Department spokesperson Sarah Tanksley said the agency would not comment on the termination.

As of Monday, state and federal data showed 38% of Tennesseans were fully vaccinated against COVID-19, lagging behind much of the nation.

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