NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Governor Bill Lee spoke to the press for the first time since the controversy surrounding the termination of the state’s top vaccine expert, Dr. Michelle Fiscus.
Governor Lee said he supported Health Commissioner Dr. Lisa Piercey's decision to terminate Dr. Fiscus and steer the department away from marketing the vaccine to Tennessee children.
Fiscus claimed she was fired after she gave some information that medical providers wanted. That information was about the state's "mature minor" doctrine, which says kids 14 and older can get medical care without parental consent.
“We should in no way be messaging to children,” Governor Lee said.
Our NBC affiliate, WSMV, asked Governor Lee to clarify why Fiscus was fired over passing along information about standing administration policy.
"Dr. Fiscus has said she was simply passing along what your administration had already approved. So why then terminate her?" News4's Jeremy Finley asked.
"I can't speak to what Dr. Fiscus said or didn't say. I just trust - and I'll say this one more time - that our department and their leadership made their decision," Gov. Lee said. "And I fully support that decision."
Lee added that he was not involved in the termination of Dr. Fiscus.
On Thursday, the Governor also addressed the rapidly spreading Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus and said the state is monitoring the situation.
He said the most effective tool our state has to manage the virus is the vaccine and encouraged Tennesseans to speak with their doctors to make a personal decision.
He added that it is not up to the state to incentivize vaccination and that the choice to receive or not receive a vaccine is ultimately a personal one.