News Clips

Tampa Bay Times

Florida COVID vaccine rules make it easy for workers to opt out, experts say

Last week, Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature made it easy for a vaccine-hesitant person to opt out of a workplace coronavirus vaccine requirement. Then hours later, the Florida Department of Health made opting out even easier. On Thursday, Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo signed an emergency rule outlining a number of exemptions an employee can claim to avoid a workplace vaccine mandate. Earlier that day, DeSantis had signed a law restricting a company’s ability to mandate vaccines unless they offered the following carve-outs:

  • Those with medical reasons not to get the vaccine — including pregnancy or anticipated pregnancy — may opt out.
  • Those who have already been infected with COVID-19 are exempt.
  • Those with a religious objection to vaccination may opt out.
  • Those who agree to periodic testing can claim an exemption.
  • Those who agree to wear personal protective equipment may opt out.

CBS 12

Judge refuses to block health care vaccination rule

A federal judge has quickly rejected Florida’s request to block a Biden administration requirement that workers at hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers be vaccinated against COVID-19. U.S. District Judge M. Casey Rodgers issued an 11-page order Saturday denying a motion by Attorney General Ashley Moody for a preliminary injunction or temporary restraining order against the federal rule. Moody’s office filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the rule and sought an injunction or temporary restraining order before the vaccination requirement takes effect Dec. 6. Rodgers, however, wrote that Florida had not shown “irreparable harm” to justify an injunction or temporary restraining order. In part, the state contended that rule would affect state-run facilities, such as veterans’ nursing homes, and exacerbate healthcare staffing shortages.

Tallahassee Democrat

Mandatory vaccinations for most Florida health workers remain in place — for now

Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration has yet to find a way to legally challenge COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health centers receiving Medicare and Medicaid, meaning that compulsory shots for Florida hospital staff and other medical workers will likely go forward. The state's largest hospital operator, HCA Healthcare, has already announced it will follow the requirement. HCA has 53 Florida health centers, according to the Florida Hospital Association. This comes as the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Saturday granted an emergency stay of mandatory vaccinations for employees of large, non-medical businesses, which are governed by different federal regulations. Florida is among 27 states challenging the rule.