TMA Statement on Department of Health Vaccine Program

July 15, 2021

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee Medical Association (TMA) is aware of recently reported changes in the Tennessee Department of Health’s outreach regarding COVID-19 and other vaccines and has reached out to department officials in order to better understand and clarify this situation.

The Department of Health does not plan to discontinue promotion of the COVID-19 vaccine or any other vaccine in Tennessee. However, current efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccination among teens are being re-evaluated in order to make sure parents are involved in such communication. Hopefully this will only be a brief pause and will result in a better consensus regarding the most effective messaging strategy to encourage COVID-19 vaccination among young people in our state. We are concerned about the reported changes regarding outreach for routine vaccinations and will continue to monitor the situation closely and communicate information to our membership as we learn more.

We continue to support COVID-19 vaccination efforts among all Tennesseans without a contraindication who are eligible. Anyone who has concerns about receiving a COVID-19 vaccine should discuss these concerns with their physician in order to obtain the most accurate information. Furthermore, we continue to advocate for the promotion of routine childhood immunizations, which are among the most effective preventive tools utilized in modern medicine. We encourage the Department of Health to continue its outreach to educate and inform the public regarding the COVID-19 vaccines and routine vaccinations, with a common goal of protecting and promoting health among all Tennesseans.

We would like to express our appreciation for Dr. Michelle Fiscus and her important contributions to our state as the director of vaccine-preventable diseases and immunization programs at the Tennessee Department of Health. We commend Dr. Fiscus on the work she has done during the pandemic (and prior) to make life-saving vaccinations more accessible to all people of Tennessee. We also appreciate the leadership of Tennessee Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey in navigating our state through this ongoing public health crisis.

TMA will continue to keep our members abreast of the facts in this matter and of our advocacy efforts to encourage vaccinations.

The Tennessee Department of Health has released a statement assuring families across Tennessee that information and access to vaccinations for children through state health departments continues and there has been no disruption to these services. Click here to view the complete press release.