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By: Lee Savio Beers, MD, FAAP, President, American Academy of Pediatrics
“Pediatricians are working every day in our practices to encourage families, adolescents and children ages 12 and older to get vaccinated against COVID-19. The Delta variant is more transmissible than other variants, leading to more infections and more hospitalizations and deaths among unvaccinated people. The vaccine is the best way to prevent this suffering and bring an end to the pandemic that has infected more than four million children and disrupted so many lives.
“American Academy of Pediatrics Board of Directors member Dr. Michelle Fiscus was terminated as the State Medical Director of Vaccine-Preventable and Infectious Diseases at the Tennessee Department of Health, apparently because she was encouraging eligible adolescents to get vaccinated. Pediatrician public health officials are medical experts who are trusted by the communities they serve. Dr. Fiscus’s termination is the most recent example of a concerning trend of politicizing public health expertise.
“We are also concerned by reports that Tennessee has stopped all communications about any routine childhood vaccines, including those for measles and other vaccine-preventable illnesses, at a time when children and adolescents overall still lag behind on these important vaccines due to the pandemic. Actions like this only increase the likelihood that we’ll see other outbreaks of these diseases even as we continue to fight COVID-19.
“The American Academy of Pediatrics will continue to promote the vaccine and support pediatricians like Dr. Fiscus who are doing the vital work that’s needed to get us out of this pandemic.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics is an organization of 67,000 primary care pediatricians, pediatric medical subspecialists and pediatric surgical specialists dedicated to the health, safety and well-being of infants, children, adolescents and young adults. For more information, visit www.aap.org and follow us on Twitter @AmerAcadPeds.