Massive Win for Vaccine Choice Rights in Florida

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A Florida court awarded a temporary restraining order against a city’s vaccination requirement. This order gave Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Gainesville city employees a win during the week.

A Close Call for Frontline Workers

Until Wednesday, Gainesville public workers faced being fired if they declined to get immunized against the Chinese coronavirus. This was mandated by a 4-3 vote of the city councilors in August.

Commissioner Adrian Hayes-Santos remarked, at the time, that a great enormous majority of the population who go to hospitals haven’t been immunized. “I think we are moving toward requiring immunizations for our staff so we can guarantee all of our personnel are well, they have a safe and healthy workplace, and the community is protected,” the commissioner continued.


 

The city then filed a lawsuit in favor of around 200 public workers on August 26. During Gov. Ron DeSantis’ Newberry media briefing on September 13, he announced that state Attorney General Ashley Moody submitted an amicus brief with the courts.

This was filed in defense of the public workers who were contesting the intrusive requirement. “Now city authorities are threatening to dismiss employees who refuse to take the immunization. It’s against the law. It directly contradicts Florida law,” Moody said.

Moody was referring to Florida Senate Bill 2006, which essentially prohibits the use of vaccine passports in the state. DeSantis informed opponents at the media briefing that the rule also applies to federal agencies.

“As such, if a government entity in the state of Florida makes an immunization a mandatory requirement, that is illegal,” DeSantis stated, drawing applause from the audience.

The judgment against the city’s vaccine requirement was then granted by Alachua Civil Circuit Judge Monica Brasington, a day and a half later.

The Right to Privacy is Key

According to AUSF, Jeff Childers (the top lawyer for the city’s staff) said the greatest argument now is the Florida Constitution’s powerful right to privacy. This contains a right to fulfill bodily autonomy and a right to reject undesired medical treatments. Therefore, the municipality of Gainesville cannot treat its workers’ bodies like an estate.

Austin Bush, one of the city’s emergency rescuers and one of the scores of petitioners in the action, stated there is still work that can be done. However, Gainesville workers are accepting the win today and will continue their fight against the requirement.

Officers are pleased it has been put on hold for the time being, according to Gainesville Fraternal Order of Police leader and Sgt. Tristan Grunder. He explained it allows workers to have more time since they believe one of the huge problems they’ve had for a while is this felt very swamped.

According to a Gainesville city official, the city will continue to promote immunizations through information and rewards.

“We realize the reality of vaccine reluctance and misinformation, but we agree with public health professionals that immunization is critical in the battle against the COVID-19 epidemic,” said Rossana Passaniti, a city representative.