Democratic Leader Karen Camper

Nashville, TN (TN Tribune)–The following is a statement from TN House Democratic Leader Karen Camper on the consequences of Gov. Bill Lee’s administration firing the person in charge of Tennessee’s vaccination programs and the current state of the Department of Health:
“I am not disappointed by what is happening in the legislature and the administration in regards to the Tennessee Department of Health and vaccinations: I am angry. I cannot fathom how anyone can think that shutting down vaccinations, withdrawing information resources and encouraging Tennesseans to not get vaccinated is a positive thing for our state. Threats from members of the legislature on the Government Operations Committee to dissolve the department—while we are still in the midst of the pandemic and COVID-19 cases are going back up—are beyond the pale. To create a Sword of Damocles to hang above our dedicated health department staff and the firing of Dr. Michelle Fiscus (our top vaccine specialist) because she had the audacity to do her job is leadership malpractice. The majority party is attempting to silence hardworking and dedicated public servants to serve a political end. Public health does not see party lines and affects every Tennessean.
To put our children at risk is unconscionable. We are not just talking about the COVID-19 vaccine. Children and parents are going to lose out on information concerning measles vaccines, the HPV vaccine, and many more. We have eradicated diseases that in our lifetime devastated the lives of children and families. We are forgetting too quickly how far we have come in medicine and public health. I call on Gov. Lee and my Republican colleagues to stand with our health professionals—not threaten them.
I join with my colleagues in Democratic leadership in demanding answers from the Lee Administration and those members who think they are winning by hurting the people of our state. And this is not something that just happened within the past few weeks. Our county health departments have been under siege even during the past year in the pandemic and this is another attack on dedicated professionals.
Now is not the time for political retribution and the continued pushing of bad science: now is the time for leadership. The citizens of Tennessee need it and deserve it.”