CHARLESTON, WV (LOOTPRESS) – West Virginia Senate Democrats have expressed support for health care professionals throughout the state and nation who have been on the front lines fighting Covid for more than a year. As the Delta variant surges, health care providers are once again fighting disinformation put forth by Republican public office holders who are anti-mask and anti-vaccine, according to the Democrats.
“For the 25th time during the pandemic, a state public health official has been pushed from office by the fearmongering of politicians, this time in Tennessee,” said Senator Ron Stollings, MD, (D-Boone). “These politicians are putting their own political self-interest above public health; it is a disgrace.”
Stollings said Dr. Michelle D. Fiscus, MD FAAP, was fired on July 12 from her job as the Tennessee Immunization Program Director because of a memo she sent to state health care providers who administer Covid shots.
She explained how providers could administer shots to minors with language provided by the general counsel of the Tennessee Department of Health and approved by the office of the Governor of Tennessee, according to Stollings.
Then someone posted the memo on social media. Republican legislators on the Tennessee Legislature’s Committee on Government Operations got involved and she was fired, Stollings said. Fiscus wrote a scathing public letter after her dismissal.
“More than 611,000 Americans have died from Covid. That includes nearly 3,000 West Virginians. Our local health departments and doctors are working tirelessly each day to protect our communities and prevent these tragic deaths,” said Minority Leader Senator Stephen Baldwin, (D-Greenbrier). “We strongly support them and we call on our legislative colleagues from both sides of the aisle to join us. Follow the science. Follow the medical leaders. And let’s kick COVID to the curb for good by everyone doing their part.”
Stollings, a primary care physician practicing in Boone County, said that West Virginians did very well at first with vaccinations, but have tapered off, with just 49% of state citizens being fully vaccinated.
He praised West Virginia’s county health departments “which have worked exceptionally hard to make vaccines available to any resident who is willing.
“The science is very clear, vaccines save lives,” said Stollings. “I urge my fellow West Virginians to get the vaccine. Even if you never get Covid, you could be saving a fellow Mountaineer from illness and possibly death. Helping each other is the West Virginia way.”
The Boone Senator continued, “I want everyone to be able to safely go to football games this fall, to have family reunions and a joyful holiday season. We cannot enjoy our time together until we reach herd immunity which is usually defined as 70% of the population is immune or vaccinated.”
The senators noted that August is National Immunization Awareness Month. “The United States has a long history of believing in vaccines that improve and save lives, including polio, measles, rubella, flu, shingles and Covid. For more information contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov or your county health department,” they concluded.