Gov. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., signed a package of bills that protect Floridians from vaccine mandates during a signing ceremony in the city of Brandon on Thursday.
Floridians can no longer be fired for not receiving a Covid-19 vaccination, and public schools can no longer implement mask mandates, nor prevent healthy students from coming to school over being unvaccinated.
“We recognize, unlike what you see going on with some of the federal proposed mandates, other states, is we’re actually doing a science based approach,” the governor said. “We recognize people that have natural immunity. You have natural immunity—whatever a private employer wants to do, you’re automatically exempt because of natural immunity.”
DeSantis called the new legislation “science-based,” expressing that Covid-19 vaccines do not fully prevent against infection, and therefore should not be mandated.
“COVID vaccines are not preventing infections. Okay? It’s just not. Gibraltar is the most vaccinated country. I don’t know if they just locked down their Christmas celebrations—they’re not doing it. Ireland has 90 plus percent adults vaccinated. They’re reimposing restrictions because you’re seeing surges.”
He continued, “So to say it should be mandated when you can still get at it—this is a personal choice. And so that’s what we’re doing, and that’s the science based approach—to say that this should be a personal choice.”
Fiona Lashells, a Florida second-grader, stood alongside Gov. DeSantis during the bills’ signing. Lashells received national attention earlier this month after she was suspended from school 36 times for refusing to wear a mask.
“I wasn’t going to school because I was getting suspended for not wearing a mask,” Lashells explained during the press conference. “I didn’t like the masks because you have germs on your hands and then you touch it and you put it on your face and you breathe in all those germs.”
DeSantis signed the legislation, directly contradicting the Covid-19 vaccine mandates directed by the Biden administration and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), requiring all public employees to get vaccinated, and all private employers to mandate worker vaccinations if staff exceeds 100 employees.
Those who failed to get vaccinated would be terminated from their jobs, as per Joe Biden and OSHA’s orders. However, these vaccine mandates were blocked by the U.S. Court for Appeals for the Fifth Circuit earlier this week.