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Tennessee Ends Vaccine Outreach to Minors, Including Non-Coronavirus Vaccines, Amid Pressure From Republicans

Tennessee Ends Vaccine Outreach to Minors, Including Non-Coronavirus Vaccines, Amid Pressure From Republicans

Tennessee is making a controversial decision that is now going viral on social media.

The state’s Department of Health will abandon all adolescent vaccine outreach – not just for the coronavirus, but all diseases – due to pressure from Republican lawmakers, via the Tennessean on Tuesday (July 13).

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The health department will no longer send postcards or notices reminding teens to get their second doses of vaccines, and will cease COVID-19 vaccine events at schools as well, which is a decision made by Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey, via an internal report.

According to the report, if the health department has to issue information about vaccines, the staff are instructed to take the department logo off documents.

Postcards will still be sent to adults, but teens will be excluded so they won’t be “potentially interpreted as solicitation to minors.”

An email from agency Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tim Jones revealed that staff should also conduct “no proactive outreach regarding routine vaccines” and “no outreach whatsoever regarding the HPV vaccine.” They were also told not to do any “pre-planning” for flu shots events at schools.

In a written statement, department spokesperson Sarah Tanksley did not confirm or deny the internal emails and instructions, saying that they were responding to “an intense national conversation that is affecting how many families evaluate vaccinations in general.”

“Tennessee is on solid footing when it comes to childhood immunizations and will continue to keep information and programming in place for parents. We are simply mindful of how certain tactics could hurt that progress,” the statement continued.

The changes come at the same time of new signs of spread in the state, as the average number of new cases per day has more than doubled in the past two weeks, including a growing number of infections due to the delta variant.

Only 38% of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated, via The Tennessean.

One star recently revealed she’ll be banning family members who are not vaccinated from their holiday gatherings.

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