A former top Tennessee vaccine official who claimed someone had sent her a muzzle in an attempt to stop her push for COVID vaccinations actually purchased the covering herself, a state investigation found. The Tennessee Department of Safety & Homeland Security found that the muzzle that had been delivered to Dr. Michelle Fiscus—the former medical director for immunization at the state’s health department who was fired from her role in July—was purchased with an American Express credit card under her own name, according to Axios. “There is no evidence to indicate that the dog muzzle was intended to threaten Dr. Fiscus,” Special Agent Mario Vigil wrote in a memo for the investigation that closed on Monday, The Tennessean reported.
The shocking turn of events comes just months after Fiscus told several news outlets—including The Daily Beast—that she was terminated for trying to push vaccination efforts in the state and had received the Amazon package less than a week before her ouster. She also told investigators she believed the muzzle was a threat to “stop talking about vaccinating people.” The Tennessee health department, however, released a July memo stating Fiscus’ termination stemmed from multiple conduct issues—including her alleged attempts to divert state funding to a nonprofit she founded. Fiscus has denied these allegations.
On Monday, Fiscus took to Twitter to respond to the investigation’s finding over the muzzle, stating that she asked “Homeland Security to investigate the origin” of the Amazon package and did not send herself the leather contraption. “Just provided a redacted HS report by Axios Nashville. Report says a second account was made under my name from a phone in WA? Waiting on unredacted report. Hold tight. No, I didn’t send it to myself,” she added. The report states the muzzle was purchased under an Amazon account under Fiscus’ name—though it was not the account the doctor provided investigators.