The new Surgeon General of Florida, Dr. Joseph Ladapo, issued an emergency rule that stated that a single positive COVID test, no matter when it was taken, proves that one has immunity from COVID in perpetuity.
The Florida Legislature recently passed legislation that will exempt employees from private employer vaccine mandates. This is one of several loopholes created by the new law, which also guts other public health measures designed to protect Floridians from COVID infections.
The new legislation was passed in a three-day special legislative session in November, just two months from the start of the regular session. In my opinion, this was yet another act in the COVID theater, there was no valid reason to wait a couple of months, and it was necessary in the first place.
Legislation was passed during the special session that provided exemptions to private employer vaccine mandates.
It prohibits school districts from imposing vaccine mandates on students and allows parents to take legal action against districts that don't comply. This codifies the Department of Health rule banning mandates.
Unless they have a positive COVID test, school districts cannot quarantining asymptomatic students or school employees.
Bans public employee vaccine mandates altogether, and authorizes fines for failure to comply.
During a public health emergency, the state health officer no longer has the authority to require vaccinations.
$5 million will be allocated to the state Attorney General to investigate complaints of violation of the new law and to fight federal vaccine mandates.
The federal OSHA is supposed to be transferred to a state agency for worker safety.
The Florida Department of Health was given the job of fleshing out some of the new law's provisions via the enactment of rules.
I want to give you an update on Dr. Ladapo's tenure as Florida's Surgeon General, as he's been in the news a lot since he was introduced to the readers. Dr. Ladapo has been in office for less than four months. Dr. Ladapo is a doctor.
He got his Florida medical license in two days and then had a complaint against him dismissed by the medical board.
He was hired and given tenure in record time at the University of Florida's medical school, where he was also paid the highest salary in the history of the school.
Continue to spread misinformation.
She was kicked out of a state Senator's office because she refused to wear a mask because she was undergoing treatment for breast cancer. He has yet to apologize, instead making up an excuse about not being able to communicate while wearing a mask.
A PSA that barely mentioned vaccines, left out testing and mask wearing altogether, yet promoted treatments of questionable effectiveness was starred in.
There are exemptions to private employer vaccine mandates created by the legislature.
There are exemptions to the vaccine mandate for private employers.
The new law that applies to private employers creates exemptions so easy to meet that it might as well be a ban. Anyone wanting to avoid a private employer mandate but not knowing how to get a job in the workforce is probably unqualified. The Legislature can claim that they are respecting a private employer's right to make decisions about how to run his or her business.
Employees can opt out of vaccinations if they work for a private employer.
There are medical reasons, including a physician's, P.A.'s, or nurse practitioner's "professional opinion", made after examining the employee, that vaccination is not in the best medical interest of the employee.
Sincerely held religious beliefs.
The employee has immunity because of competent medical evidence and the results of a valid laboratory test.
Regular testing is free to the employee.
There is not a specific definition of employer-supplied protective equipment.
The Department of Health was told to create forms for claiming the exemptions within 15 days. Emergency rules can only be adopted by an agency.
The agency may adopt any rule necessitated by the immediate danger if it finds that an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare requires emergency action.
The agency state is required by the law.
There are specific facts and reasons for finding an immediate danger to the public health, safety, or welfare and its reasons for concluding that the procedure used is fair under the circumstances.
The Legislature obviated these prerequisites, without ever saying what the emergency was or telling us what threat to the public it was supposedly alleviating, by simply declaring that all conditions were met. The Department of Health could go through the regular rule-making process, which involves notice to the public, possibly a hearing, and can take months, if not years, to make emergency rules.
The emergency rules and forms were quickly issued by the Surgeon General.
The Department of Health decided that it would include morally held moral or ethical belief in an expansion that was based on its well-known expertise in theology. The practical result of this exemption is that any employee can claim it.
The science component of the rules is what we move on to.
The Legislature directed the Department to clarify what it meant by the term "anticipated pregnancy", and they decided that if the employee wants to become pregnant and have a child, that is an anticipated pregnancy. The rule doesn't eliminate the requirement that a healthcare professional document a medical reason for a vaccine exemption, leaving the employee in the curious position of having to get her doctor to sign off on her declaration.
The CDC, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, and the Society for Maternal Fetal Medicine all advise against including pregnancies as a reason for a vaccine exemption. Indeed, according to the CDC.
People who are pregnant or recently pregnant are more likely to get seriously ill with COVID-19.
The Legislature and the Department appear to be co-opting the medical community into endorsing its scheme. The exemption form was created by the Department.
It is my opinion that the vaccine is not in the best interest of the employee.
The Legislature requires that an exemption be based on immunity.
An exemption statement showing competent medical evidence that the employee has immunity to COVID-19 must be presented to the employer. The Department of Health will have a standard for demonstrating immunity.
There is no such thing as a competent medical evidence that shows immunity via a lab test. The Department adopted an emergency rule that included incompetent medical evidence to demonstrate immunity, even though the CDC says that positive diagnostic tests and positive antibody tests are FDA-approved.
There is no FDA-authorized or approved test that can be used to determine if a person is protected from infections.
If you have a current infection, you can get a diagnostic test. The COVID-19 virus can cause your immune system to produce antibodies. It's not a good idea to think that you are immune from future infections. It is not enough for someone to have a level of antibodies that will protect them against an infectious disease or that there is a consensus about how long the protection will last. If you don't have a vaccine, you are more at risk of getting re-infected than if you have one. The CDC advises people who have had evidence to get vaccine. We are here.
An exemption form was created by the Department, which requires the employee to attach the lab test results, check a box, and provide the test date.
There is no limit on how old the test can be. If an employee had a positive diagnostic lab test in January 2020, it can still be used as evidence of immunity.
The Department's rule states that an employee can submit a positive diagnostic test on the same day if he meets the criteria for immunity.
The Legislature and the Dr. Ladapo have decided that prior infections provide "natural immunity" from future infections in perpetuity, and that lab tests not designed to demonstrate "natural immunity" are a reliable way to determine this.
The Department is befuddled by its new rules.
A department spokesman referred a reporter back to the rule when asked if the rule was making the case that natural immunity lasts forever.
Employers with fewer than 100 employees can be fined up to $10,000 and those with more than 100 employees can be fined up to $50,000 for firing an employee for refusing to be vaccine free. If the Attorney General finds that the complaint is appropriate, she can impose fines on the employer.
All of this has left Florida employers in a tough spot according to one employment law expert, who notes that employers must now try to figure out how to comply with Florida's new law, while at the same time comply with conflicting federal vaccine mandates per OSHA, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
The state of Florida has a case rate in the top 10 in the U.S.