Orlando-Area Firefighters Sue Over Vaccine Mandate—Which Also Has Testing Option

On Friday, 43 Orange County Fire Rescue Department employees filed a lawsuit against Florida County over the mandate to require proof of Covid-19 vaccinations or regular negative testing.

Florida firefighters have sued to challenge a vaccine mandate. They can't be fired because they violate it. getty

The Key Facts

In state court, the lawsuit seeks to stop the county mandate from taking effect on Thursday. Before the October 31 deadline, county workers had to produce proof of at least one shot. Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings (D), said that those who fail to show proof of vaccination would be sent a letter of reprimand. However, they are not at risk of losing their jobs for breaking the order. Firefighters and other public safety personnel who are not vaccinated must submit a Covid testing before each shift.

Important Quote

The lawsuit stated that "now, suddenly, due to the mere existence of experimental vaccines hastily created to combat Covid-19 spreading, Plaintiffs are inexplicably not longer appreciated for sacrifices and admirable efforts for many years and especially the last eighteen month,". All Coronavirus vaccines that are available in the U.S. were tested in clinical trials. Moderna and Johnson & Johnsons have been granted emergency use authorization. The FDA has approved the Pfizer BioNTech vaccine.

What to Watch

Gov. Ron DeSantis' administration claims the mandate is against an order by the governor, which took effect July 1, and prohibited government entities from passing vaccine mandates. Last week, the Florida Department of Health wrote Demings warning him that he would be fined if he fails to enforce its mandate.

Important Background

Both for local governments and businesses, mandates to vaccinate are increasingly common in the United States. Although legal challenges have not been successful, experts say there is a long history mandates that involve other vaccines. New York City teachers filed a last-ditch appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court following lower courts' rejection of their requests to repeal the vaccine mandate for public school employees. This mandate does not allow for negative testing. Massachusetts was the site of a similar failure. A state court rejected an attempt by state troopers to repeal the mandate that all state employees must be vaccinated. According to the union representing them, that mandate doesn't allow unvaccinated employees to continue working and submit negative results to their tests. This led to "dozens" upon dozens of officers considering resigning.

Big Number

86% Demings stated Thursday that this is the Orange County worker population who has received at least one dose of Covid-19 vaccine.

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Massachusetts Police Union Claims Dozens of Vaccine Leavers, but State Police Says Only One (Forbes).

90% Of NYC School Employees Vaccinated Ahead Of Mandate Taking Effect, De Blasio Says (Forbes)

DeSantis threatens Orange County (Orlando Sentinel).

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