DeSantis wins big as Special Olympics reverses vaccine mandate

Yesterday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis won a significant victory after the Special Olympics hosted in various locations throughout Florida reversed their vaccine mandate.

The reversal came after the Florida Department of Health threatened event organizers with $27.5 million fines if they enforced the mandate on special Olympians.

On June 2nd, the Florida Department of Health sent a letter to the organizers saying that the event violated Florida law.  The letter charged them with 5,500 separate violations of Florida law or a fine of $5,000 per person.

On Friday, the Governor held a press conference praising the decision and stood up for unvaccinated athletes and Floridians who have been ‘marginalized’ by mandates.

“What connection that has to competing, I don’t understand,” He said of Covid-19 vaccines.   “We’ve never seen something wielded like this vaccine to try to marginalize disfavored people.”

Governor DeSantis shared a story of one Kansas athlete with Down Syndrome who would have been prevented from competing at the Olympics after his exemption request was denied. The athlete had a seizure after getting the first dose of the vaccine. The event organizers told him to get the first dose and that he would be exempted from the second if he had an adverse reaction.

The letter sent by Special Olympics organizers says that they “Don’t want to fight. We want to play.”

“Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement, now have the option to attend.  SOI, Special Olympics North America, and the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games Local Organizing Committee will make their best efforts to accommodate eligible individuals.

For 54 years, Special Olympics has been brave in the attempt.  We don’t want to fight.  We want to play.”

DeSantis has been a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates since they were introduced last year.  In September of 2021, he said that he would impose millions of dollars in fines against cities and counties that attempted to impose mandates, according to the Washington Post.

The Governor remains popular in the purple state, with a net approval rating of sixteen points and a double-digit lead over his likely opponent in recent polls.

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