Tennessee resuming nearly all adolescent vaccine advocacy

Tennessee is resuming almost all of its adolescent vaccine advocacy efforts, a top health official announced on Friday, following backlash for the state’s reported plans to suspend outreach.

Tennessee Health Commissioner Lisa Piercey told reporters that the state will return to promoting all vaccines for children and hosting vaccination events on school property, including some next week, after a “pause.”

“I want to assure you that the department’s commitment to immunization is completely unchanged,” she added.

The Tennessean reported earlier this month that the Tennessee Department of Health planned to stop its outreach advocating for vaccines for adolescents against all diseases, including COVID-19, sparking nationwide outrage.

More controversy: Tennessee’s health department also came under fire this month when the state’s top vaccination official told the newspaper that she was terminated after she sent a letter to providers about a doctrine that allows minors aged 14 and older to get vaccinated without a parent’s permission.

The state has one of the lower COVID-19 vaccination rates in the country, with 38.5 percent of the population fully vaccinated. At the same time, cases have more than tripled in the past 14 weeks, according to data from The New York Times.