The Supreme Court on Thursday evening blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine-or-test rule for businesses with at least 100 employees but upheld the legality of a separate request from the Biden administration to allow its vaccine mandate for health care workers to take effect. In Florida, however, Governor Ron DeSantis will continue his efforts to oppose any federal vaccine requirements.
Floridian healthcare jobs are still protected under state law, DeSantis’ office told The Capitolist on Friday, and that if any worker is unable to get vaccinated for reasons of personal beliefs or medical conditions, they must be granted an exemption upon request. “Any Floridian can access the required exemption forms on the Florida Department of Health website. So there is no reason any Floridian should lose his or her job over a COVID vaccine mandate,” said DeSantis Press Secretary Christina Pushaw.
DeSantis made clear in a recent press conference his stance on medical worker vaccine mandates, citing a possible exacerbation of the preexisting nursing and worker shortages that plague Florida hospitals. Last week, Holy Cross Health in Fort Lauderdale was forced to temporarily shutter their maternity department after they were left with no available employees due to the Omicron COVID-19 outbreak.
“Now we provided protections in Florida. You know, people they want to try to, you can opt for all these exemptions. You can opt for different things so you can keep your job. And that’s something that’s very important, but this OSHA mandate clearly exceeds the ability of Congress under the law or constitution,” said the governor. “If you believe, like the founding fathers believe, that the constitution is one of limited and enumerated powers, you cannot authorize the federal government acting with basically as like a state police power. This is, they’re saying they’re regulating business to impose a vaccine mandate because they know they couldn’t impose the vaccine mandate directly. So this is a attempted end-run around the constitutional structure. We need the Supreme court to come through and rule properly on that.”
The Floridian head of state commended the Supreme Court’s concurrent ruling striking down the Biden Administration’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) rule that large private companies with more than 100 workers require they be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Although Congress has indisputably given OSHA the power to regulate occupational dangers, it has not given that agency the power to regulate public health more broadly,” the Supreme Court said. “Requiring the vaccination of 84 million Americans, selected simply because they work for employers with more than 100 employees, certainly falls in the latter category.”
OSHA has never before imposed such a mandate. Nor has Congress. Indeed, although Congress has enacted significant legislation addressing the COVID–19 pandemic, according to the court.
“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. said Florida Communications Director Taryn Fenske. “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.”