Jul 23, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Tennessee to resume vaccine outreach to minors

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaking at a CDC roundtable in December 2020.

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee speaking at a CDC roundtable in December 2020. Photo: Houston Cofield/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey said Friday the state would resume advocating for vaccines after state Republicans pressured the health department into halting all of its vaccine outreach programs to minors, the Tennessean reports.

Why it matters: State lawmakers received nationwide criticism for preventing the health department from promoting the coronavirus vaccine to minors and called for the firing of its top vaccine official for promoting a state law that allows minors to seek medical care without their parent's permission.

What they're saying: Piercey said the department would again recommend vaccines for children and hold vaccination events on school property.

  • She added that the department would give the coronavirus vaccine to minors without the permission of their parents in "fringe and nuanced" circumstances.
  • The state will not resume creating social media posts that promote vaccines that are aimed specifically at children.

The big picture: Piercey said the outreach programs were never meant to be ceased permanently but "paused" to ensure that the promotions were aimed at parents and not the minors themselves.

Go deeper: Republicans push to ban "discrimination" against unvaccinated people

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