Florida to Defy Biden Vaccine Mandate for Healthcare Workers

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Florida will not enforce President Joe Biden’s vaccine mandate for healthcare workers, which was upheld on Thursday by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Associate Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined Chief Justice John Roberts and the court’s liberal wing to save the mandate, which requires workers in medical facilities which receive Medicare or Medicaid funding to be vaccinated.

The court struck down another mandate which would have used OSHA to compel businesses with more than 100 employees to require their empties to be vaccinated or submit to regular testing.

Friday, Florida announced it will not comply with the healthcare worker mandate.

A memo from the state Agency for Health Care Administration noted:

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court approved the Federal Government’s application to stay preliminary injunctions that had been entered against the CMS vaccine mandate. The Agency is reviewing the Supreme Court’s decision. As communicated earlier this month, the Agency continues to follow Florida law and will not survey for compliance with the CMS vaccine mandate rule. Florida law requires all employers, including health care employers, to provide broad exemptions to a COVID-19 vaccine mandate…

Mediaite spoke to Christina Pushaw, a spokesperson for Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL), about the decision to follow state law on vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, and to ignore Biden’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) mandate.

Pushaw shared a quote from DeSantis’ communications director Taryn Fenske, which noted vaccine mandates are prohibited under Florida state law.

Fenske stated:

We are excited that the Supreme Court rightly recognized the Biden admin’s overreach in trying to mandate vaccines through OSHA. We are disappointed about the CMS ruling and what it could mean for the livelihoods of doctors, nurses, and health professionals in our state. As Florida’s prohibition on vaccine mandates remains in effect for all industries, we will be evaluating next steps for enforcement in the coming days.

Asked by Mediaite if there are concerns that the decision to disregard the CMS mandate might put some state facilities at the risk of losing Medicaid or Medicare funding, Pushaw said, “The state law stands.”

Pushaw added:

As for healthcare workers at facilities covered by the CMS mandate, their jobs are also protected under Florida law. If any worker cannot get vaccinated for reasons of personal beliefs or medical conditions, they must be granted an exemption upon request. Any worker can access the required exemption forms on the Florida Department of Health website. Therefore, there is no reason any Floridian should lose his or her job over a COVID vaccine mandate.

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