Tennessee’s former top vaccine official sent muzzle days before firing

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A muzzle was sent to Dr. Michelle Fiscus just days before she was fired by Tennessee officials, according to her husband.

Dr. Fiscus’ husband confirmed with News 2 that the now-former top vaccine official for the state received an Amazon package containing the muzzle a week before she was fired.

The package was sent anonymously.

Fiscus commented on the muzzle saying, “they must not know me, this is for a beagle, but I’m a pit bull.”

News 2 reached out to Tennessee Homeland Security officials for comment on Wednesday afternoon. They stated they are actively investigating the incident and looking into who sent it.

Dr. Fiscus told The Tennessean that she was fired Monday to appease lawmakers. She provided the newspaper with a copy of her termination letter, which does not explain the reasoning for her dismissal.

They must not know me, this is for a beagle, but I’m a pit bull.

Dr. Michelle Fiscus

The now-former Immunization Director for the Tennessee Department of Health had been facing scrutiny from Republican state lawmakers over her department’s outreach efforts to promote COVID-19 vaccinations among teenagers.

In an interview with News 2 on Tuesday, Dr. Fiscus said she is afraid for the state.

“People are going to die of a vaccine-preventable disease. There is no reason anyone in this state should die from COVID-19,” she explained.

Dr. Fiscus said that all messaging regarding any kind of vaccine has ended in response to blowback from the General Assembly.

“My biggest concern is that Tennessee Department of Health leadership, in response to the blowback from the legislature, has now been to cancel any kind of vaccination outreach for childhood vaccines, infant vaccines, flu vaccines in the fall that were scheduled to be given in schools, HPV vaccine messaging so that we can prevent cancer in young adults. All of this messaging has now been put on hold and the department is not permitted to message any of that proactive messaging that saves lives and prevents disease.”

The Tennessee Department of Health said it has “in no way shuttered the immunizations for children program” and remains a “trustworthy source of information” regarding COVID-19.

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