Special Olympics Drops Vaccine Mandate After Fine Threat

June 6, 2022 in News by RBN Staff

source:  webmd


photo of vaccine

June 4, 2022 — The Special Olympics dropped its COVID-19 vaccine mandate for thousands of participants at its national competition in Orlando after the State of Florida threatened to levy a $27 million fine.The Florida Department of Health sent a letter on Thursday to the Special Olympics saying the organization’s rule requiring vaccines violated a state law that prohibits businesses or charitable organizations from demanding proof of vaccination, ABC News reported. The letter said the state planned to levy 5,500 fines of $5,000.

On Friday, the Special Olympics announced that the vaccine mandate was dropped for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games “based upon the Florida Department of Health’s interpretation of Florida law. Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement, now have the option to attend.”

“We don’t want to fight. We want to play,” the Special Olympics said in a statement posted on Twitter.

More than 5,500 athletes and coaches from 50 states, 20,000 volunteers, and 125,000 spectators are expected to attend the USA Games, which run Sunday through June 12. the Special Olympics says.”We want everyone to be able to compete,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said Friday at a news conference, ABC News reported. “Finally, we can report that all the athletes will be able to compete. This will be a relief for a lot of the athletes.”

DeSantis has opposed almost every “vaccine passport” proposal since the pandemic began. In May 2021, he signed a bill “blocking any business or government entity from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination.”

At the same news conference, Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo said the state had been communicating with the Special Olympics for six months about the vaccine mandate, WFLA reported.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends COVID vaccines for everyone 5 and older, including people with disabilities “who may be at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19.”