Stop public health officials from vaccinating children against COVID

  • Children under 5 years of age are already eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine.
  • But House National Party leaders are pushing Governor Bill Lee to block the state from spreading the shots to young children.

The Republican leadership of Tennessee House on Wednesday asked Governor Bill Lee to block the Department of Health from “distributing, promoting or recommending” the COVID-19 vaccine for children under 5, despite widespread support for the vaccine in the medical community.

Representative Jason Zachary, R-Knoxville, authored the letter to Lee, urging him to block the spread until “more clinical evidence is available.”

Lee and the Department of Health have not yet responded to Tennessee’s request for comment.

Children under the age of 5 in the United States began receiving the vaccines on Tuesday after reviewing safety and efficacy data from the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Those aged 5 and over are already eligible for the vaccine.

In the past, children were at lower risk than adults with COVID-19, although more than 200 children aged 1-4 died and 20,000 were hospitalized with the disease, according to USA Today.

Tennessee has reported more than 2 million cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic, with 187,930 children under the age of 10.

More than 26,000 Tennessee residents have died from COVID-19, including 14 children aged 10 and under. The majority of deaths in Tennessee occurred in patients 51 years of age and older.

Representative Jason Zachary and Representative Scott Sepiki talk about the barrier that separates their desks when the Tennessee House of Representatives opened its session this week in Nashville, Tennessee.  Tuesday, June 2, 2020. Barriers were placed between the desks and many of the deputies were wearing masks.

House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, Majority Leader William Lambert, R-Portland, and Republican Speaker Jeremy Fason, R-Cosby, joined in the signing of the letter to Lee.

“We simply cannot recommend injecting an mRNA vaccine to children who have never been at serious risk of death or hospitalization from COVID-19,” Zachary wrote. “We do not know the short-term and long-term impact on their development and overall health.”

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