DeSantis: Florida won’t enforce health care worker vaccination requirement

Employers won't have to require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19 after the Supreme Court blocked the Biden Administration's order. However, a separate rule for staff at government health care facilities can still be enforced. The State of Florida still plans to fight that ruling.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Just one day after the United States Supreme Court upheld the Biden Administration’s policy requiring health care workers to get vaccinated, the governor’s office fired back saying Florida will not enforce it.

The rule comes as the health care worker vaccination rule approaches a deadline -- Jan. 27 for their first shot. Thursday’s ruling from the Supreme Court now means health care workers across the U.S. will be required to get vaccinated for COVID-19.

Hours before the ruling came down, Gov. Ron DeSantis reiterated there’s no way that’s happening in the Sunshine State.

“The medical mandate for the nurses and doctors what they’re trying to do is insane. In Florida, we provided protections, so they were rehired,” said DeSantis.

The rule put into place by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services applies to hospitals and other health care facilities that receive funding through Medicaid and Medicare. It requires all staff to be vaccinated unless they have either a pending or approved qualifying exemption.

Facilities that don’t meet the requirement will be considered “non-compliant.”

The governor’s office is encouraging health care workers who have reasons to opt-out to fill out an exemption form on the Florida Department of Health’s website.

In a statement, the Florida Healthcare Association, which represents the nursing home industry, said the rule slated to go into effect in two weeks would exacerbate the growing problem with shortages.

In a statement the FHCA said in part:

“...long term care is experiencing a historic labor crisis. We are extremely concerned that the court’s decision to allow the CMS mandate to go forward will cause nursing homes to lose even more staff at a time when we are grappling with significant staffing shortages that are impacting access to care.”

A spokesperson for DeSantis told USA Today that Florida law protects all workers from being fired if they opt not to get vaccinated and that includes health care workers.

About the Author:

Ashley Harding joined the Channel 4 news team in March 2013. She reports for and anchors The Morning Show.