On June 16, 2021, a Tennessee legislature committee discussed efforts to vaccinate minors. Rep. Scott Cepicky, a Republican, moved to “dissolve and reconstitute” the state health department over concerns that it was “coercing” children into getting vaccinated.
Cepicky and other lawmakers took issue with a department memo sent to vaccine providers about the “mature minor doctrine”—a 1987 state ruling that permits minors 14 and up to receive health care without parental consent. Cepicky also objected to department ads displaying children smiling with a bandage on their arms, suggesting that they amounted to “peer pressure” and “guilt-tripping” given the “impressionable” nature of “young people...wanting to fit in.”
The department clarified that its intent was to be informative, not promotional.
The Republican-led committee plans to reconvene and continue its discussion in July.