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Mayor: Unvaccinated workers to get reprimands, not fired

File photo
File photo

ORLANDO, Fla. – Employees of a Florida county where vaccination for COVID-19 is now required for all workers won’t be fired for refusing to get the shots, but will receive written reprimands, the county’s mayor said.

Some workers in Orange County, particularly firefighters have pushed back against Orange County Mayor Jerry Deming's mandate issued in July that county workers receive a first vaccine shot by the end of September or face discipline. Orange County is the home to Orlando and many of Florida's biggest theme parks.

Over 500 of the 1,456 fire department employees are either unvaccinated or haven’t reported their vaccination status, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

“It was never my intention to terminate anyone from our employment,” Demings said. “We’re a compassionate and caring employer, but we also must balance that with protecting our employees and the public.”

Demings said the mandate has still been successful since the vaccination rate for county employees is now at 84%.

Earlier this month, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis threatened local governments with $5,000 fines per violation for requiring their employees to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.