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Tenn. Lawmakers assure parental consent for minors on Covid-19 vaccine

Joint Government Operations Committee Chairmen Kerry Roberts and John Ragan made an announcement Wednesday.
Published: Jul. 21, 2021 at 10:51 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Joint Government Operations Committee Chairmen Kerry Roberts and John Ragan made an announcement Wednesday assuring parental consent for minors to receive a Covid-19 vaccine.

The announcement came during a meeting of the same legislative panel that last month grilled Department of Health officials — among them, then-vaccine chief Michelle Fiscus, who was recently fired following complaints about her leadership style, according to state records.

During the June meeting, both Roberts and Ragan, along with other committee members, expressed two concerns to Commissioner Lisa Piercey: administering the Covid-19 vaccination without parental consent and marketing directly to minors.

“We have not discouraged Tennesseans from being vaccinated nor have we discouraged Tennesseans from having their children vaccinated,” Roberts continued. “Further, it has been widely misrepresented that all children’s vaccines have come to a halt. To be absolutely clear, Tennessee’s efforts on childhood vaccinations are unchanged. The only exception is administering a COVID-19 vaccination without parental consent.”

Roberts said in the release that interpreting the concerns of marketing COVID-19 vaccines to children without parental consent as being an anti-vaccine stance is intellectually dishonest and wrong.

“To be clear, the Tennessee Department of Health was not asked to stop vaccinating children nor have they stopped vaccinating children for COVID-19 or any other disease,” Roberts clarified. “Rather, they were asked to stop vaccinating children for COVID-19 without parental consent and stop marketing to minors.”

After the meeting, according to the report, both Chairman Roberts and Chairman Ragan met with Commissioner Piercey and a member of the Governor’s staff.

“During that meeting, Dr. Piercey and the governor’s office confirmed that it is not the policy of Tennessee Department of Health, Tennessee Department of Education, or our 89 county health departments to administer the COVID-19 vaccine to children without parental consent,” said Roberts. “She further detailed the steps taken to stop any marketing directed at minors.”

Chairman Roberts said in a statement that the Tennessee Department of Health was not asked to stop vaccinating children nor have they stopped vaccinating children for Covid-19 or any other disease. Rather, they were asked to stop vaccinating children for Covid-19 without parental consent and stop marketing to minors.

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