A top Tennessee health official alleges she was fired on Monday to appease lawmakers who were outraged over efforts to inoculate teenagers as the Delta coronavirus variant surges in the state.
In a searing statement to The Tennessean, Dr. Michelle Fiscus said she was axed as the medical director for vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health with no official explanation. A copy of her termination letter, which did not offer a reason for dismissal, was provided to the outlet.
“It was my job to provide evidence-based education and vaccine access so that Tennesseans could protect themselves against COVID-19,” Fiscus said in a statement, adding that she is “afraid for my state.”
“I have now been terminated for doing exactly that.”
A department spokesperson did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast's request for comment.
The termination comes after Tennessee health officials recorded a growing number of Delta variant cases, reporting 125 such cases as of Monday. But despite the threat of the highly-transmissible variant, Fiscus said the real reason for her ouster was the Tennessee Department of Health buckling to critiques about the state urging teenagers to get vaccinated.
“I have been terminated for doing my job because some of our politicians have bought into the anti-vaccine misinformation campaign rather than taking the time to speak with the medical experts,” Fiscus wrote. “They believe what they choose to believe rather than what is factual and evidence-based. And it is the people of Tennessee who will suffer the consequences of the actions of the very people they put into power.”