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New Florida law banning vaccine mandates causes polarizing views across state

Posted at 6:24 PM, Nov 18, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-18 18:24:59-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Healthcare workers who were fired from their job for not being vaccinated are grateful for this new legislation, while Florida physicians are warning about the health risk this could cause.

Thursday, Governor Ron Desantis signed new legislation into law.

His goal is to not allow vaccine mandates with private businesses, schools and local governments after the Biden administration made vaccines mandatory for employers.

"According to a clause in the US constitution, federal law will take precedent over state law," Attorney Jamie Cole said.

Cole said when two laws conflict, the federal one will apply.

"Currently, there is some litigation so it may that the federal law and the OSHA guidelines are not in place or mandatory right now so then the state law would apply," Cole said.

After Desantis signed the bills, some Florida physicians made a call to action against the legislation.

In a statement sent to ABC27, Dr. Isaiah Cochran said

“As physicians across Florida who have been battling this pandemic for nearly two years now, it’s frustrating to us that Governor DeSantis and the Legislature are taking actions that will only make it worse, and all to cater to a small minority of anti-vaccine supporters. Although the bills are signed now, it’s important that we hold our elected leaders accountable for these dangerous actions and remind our patients and the public that the COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective, and that vaccine mandates work. We’re committed, as doctors, to caring for our patients and our communities, and that includes standing up against policies that can risk their lives."

For healthcare worker Carleigh Harrison, who was recently let go from her job for being unvaccinated, she sees this legislation as a sigh of relief.

"This just shows the Floridian and Florida leadership care about freedom," Harrison said.

Cole said this legislation may allow people who were let go of their jobs for being unvaccinated the ability to be reemployed.

He adds the biggest change in the new law is not allowing local governments and school districts to mandate vaccines or masks.

"Basically, this does many things that greatly limit the power of local governments and of school districts and to some extent the federal government on mitigating against COVID-19," Cole said.

This new law takes effect immediately.