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A drive-through coronavirus testing site in Springfield, Tenn. Photo: Brett Carlsen/Getty Images

Tennessee's top vaccine official told CNN she had been fired after sharing a memo citing state law about whether adolescents can seek medical care without their parents' permission.

Why it matters: The news comes amid an alleged push by Republican lawmakers in the state to halt vaccine outreach for teens for all diseases, including COVID-19, the Tennessean reports.

State of play: Tennessee is one of the few states in the U.S. that has a "mature minor doctrine" that allows physicians to decide whether minors have the "capacity to consent to vaccination themselves," per CNN.

  • Michelle Fiscus, a pediatrician who served as Tennessee's director of immunization programs, said she wrote the memo to vaccine providers explaining a decades-old state law fielding questions about what should be done if minors ask to be vaccinated.
  • The memo saw backlash from some lawmakers who felt it would undermine parental authority, Fiscus said.
  • She added that she was "terminated without cause."

The big picture: An internal report obtained by the Tennessean notes that the state's public health department will no longer be conducting vaccine outreach events at schools.

  • The state will also stop sending teens notices reminding them to get their second doses of the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • "If the health department must issue any information about vaccines, staff are instructed to strip the agency logo off the documents," the Tennessean writes.

What they're saying: "This is about a partisan issue around covid vaccines and around people in power in Tennessee not believing in the importance in vaccinating the people, and so they terminated the person in charge of getting it done," Fiscus told the Washington Post.

  • "The government is sacrificing public health to be in the good graces of our legislators; it’s a horrid dereliction of duty," she added.
  • "The people of Tennessee are going to pay a price," Fiscus told CNN.

Go deeper

Hawaii invites fully vaccinated travelers to return from Nov. 1

Hawaii Gov. David Ige. Photo: Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

Hawaii Gov. David Ige (D) announced plans Wednesday to soon welcome back nonresidents to the island state who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 for nonessential travel.

Why it matters: Hawaii's tourist-dependent labor market suffered one of the worst blows in the U.S. last year and the state's climb out of its pandemic-sized hole is moving slowly, Axios' Courtenay Brown notes.

Oct 20, 2021 - Health

In-N-Out refuses to follow San Francisco's vaccine mandate

Photo: James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images

The California burger chain In-N-Out is refusing to follow San Francisco's vaccination mandate, which requires restaurants to check for customers' proof of vaccination to dine indoors, the Washington Post reports.

Driving the news: The San Francisco Public Health Department has had to remind employees multiple times to check for proof of vaccination since September, ultimately resulting in the city's only In-N-Out location getting shut down on Oct. 14. It is the only time the agency has ordered a restaurant's closure over a mandate violation, officials told the Post.

48 mins ago - World

Soldiers seize power in Burkina Faso as global coup surge continues

Mutinous soldiers in Burkina Faso declared on state television Monday that they had deposed the government, closed the borders, and taken control of the country. President Roch Marc Christian Kaboré has reportedly been arrested.

The big picture: This would be the third successful military coup in west Africa in eight months, after juntas took power last year in Guinea and in neighboring Mali.