NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee pastors are joining the chorus of lawmakers and doctors to call for an independent investigation into the controversial firing of the state’s top vaccination expert.
They’re calling on Governor Bill Lee to end the “politicization of public health” after ousting Dr. Michelle Fiscus.
“We are calling for an independent investigation into the suppression of vital, life-saving public health guidance,” said Rev. Dr. Kevin Riggs, pastor of Franklin Community Church in Franklin.
This comes as Dr. Fiscus, the former Medical Director for Vaccine-Preventable Diseases and Immunization, says she was fired for doing her job, sharing a decades-old case law about healthcare rights children have to medical providers.
“A pattern of cover-up and suppression of vital life-saving public health information which endangers the most vulnerable among us and jeopardizes a safe return to school in August and even jeopardizes our economic recovery,” Riggs said.
With the Delta COVID-19 variant spreading in several states, pastors say it’s indicative of a lack of leadership.
Rev. Gordon Myers, Pastor of Living Word Lutheran Church in Arlington, Tenn. said the moves by the Lee administration, “Will lead inevitably to avoidable suffering, hospitalizations, and death.”
Faith leaders say that the firing of Dr. Fiscus is a chilling effect of state leaders putting politics before people.
“Tennessee has lost a great and wise mind, who was determined to save lives, and it worries many of us to see the direction in which Tennessee elected officials are moving,” said Rev. Stephen Handy, pastor of Mckendree United Methodist Church in Nashville.
Forty-three percent of Tennesseans have at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. Just 38.5 percent of Tennesseans are fully vaccinated.
“We call on our public officials to do the right thing, not for your political party, but for the people who elected you. Every person is precious, and we all have a moral obligation to reach everyone,” Handy said.
News 2 reached out to Governor Bill Lee’s office for comment and has not heard back as of Tuesday afternoon.