NASHVILLE, TN — Tennessee Republicans moved this week to ask Governor Bill Lee (R-TN) to direct the Tennessee Department of Health to not promote or distribute the COVID vaccine for children under five.
The letter authored by Rep. Jason Zachary (R-Knoxville) asks Lee to direct the Tennessee Department of Health to “halt distribution, promotion or recommendation of COVID-19 vaccines for our youngest Tennesseans.”
It follows the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines for children between the ages of six months to five years.
Zachary disagreed, telling The Daily Wire that it was “reckless and irresponsible” to promote vaccinating this age group, saying that more research needed to be done. He also pointed out the low risk for young children to get seriously sick with COVID.
“There is no emergency, especially in Tennessee. Again, you’re talking about those who are the least risk for having hospitalizations or deaths related to the COVID virus. [They] are our least vulnerable Tennesseans,” the Tennessee Republican said.
As of Wednesday afternoon, Zachary said that he had spoken with the governor’s legislative director and general counsel about the letter, but had not yet heard back from the governor, who was traveling. He characterized the initial conversations as “favorable,” but that Lee’s team still needed more time to review the letter.
The Daily Wire reached out to Governor Lee for comment.
Zachary’s letter was also signed by Tennessee Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton (R-Crossville), House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland), and House Republican Caucus Chairman Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby).
“We simply cannot recommend injecting an mRNA vaccine into children who have never been at serious risk from death or hospitalization from COVID-19,” the letter says. “We do not know the short-term and long-term impact on their development and overall health.”
The letter references Dr. Marty Makary of Johns Hopkins, Dr. Vinay Prasad of the University of California San Francisco, and Florida Surgeon General Joseph Lapado.
The Tennessee Republicans also asked several questions pertaining to the FDA’s decision to allow young children to be vaccinated, including: “Why was the trial not able to show a reduction in severe illness among those vaccinated?” and “Why was approval granted when the manufacturers’ own trials show zero benefit to children?”
On June 17, the FDA announced that those ages 6 months and older could receive the Pfizer or Moderna COVID vaccine, stating that they were safe and effective.
“The agency determined that the known and potential benefits of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines outweigh the known and potential risks in the pediatric populations authorized for use for each vaccine,” the agency said in a press release.
Zachary’s letter concluded by thanking Lee for his leadership and “for standing against the continued overreach of a federal bureaucracy.”