Featured Image
 Twitter video screenshot

(LifeSiteNews) — Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis struck a defiant tone Thursday ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decisions on the Biden administration’s COVID-19 vaccine mandates for private businesses and federally-funded health centers, declaring it “absolutely insane” to fire unvaccinated nurses while bringing infected nurses back to work.

“The medical mandate for the nurses and the doctors, this is — what they’re trying to do is absolutely insane,” DeSantis said Thursday, prior to the release of the decisions.

In other states they have fired nurses for not having vaxxed, even though most of them have natural immunity. So they fire them, but now they’re short-handed, so what are they doing? They are bringing back on the job vaccinated nurses that are currently COVID-positive. So if you’re unvaccinated, naturally immune, and uninfected, they fire you, but if you’re COVID-positive and vaxxed, which we know most of the people COVID-positive now are vaxxed, they are going back on the job. And it just shows you, that CMS mandate is absolutely insane, especially given the ineffectiveness of these shots to actually stop transmission.

DeSantis was referring to recent decisions by health officials in California and hospitals in Arizona and Rhode Island to allow COVID-infected staffers to return to work if they are either asymptomatic or only mildly symptomatic, to mitigate staffing shortages brought on in large part by the firing of staffers who refuse the COVID shots. Evidence shows that the asymptomatic are unlikely to spread COVID, regardless of vaccination status.

Following the governor’s remarks, the Supreme Court voted 6-3 to block enforcement of the mandate that businesses with 100 or more employees require their workers to either take a COVID shot or be tested weekly, while also voting 5-4 to allow enforcement of a shot mandate for healthcare workers at facilities funded through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which contains no testing option. Trump-appointee Justice Brett Kavanaugh joined the court’s liberals in the latter decision.

“We are excited that the Supreme Court rightly recognized the Biden admin’s overreach in trying to mandate vaccines through OSHA,” DeSantis spokesperson Taryn Fenske responded. “We are disappointed about the CMS ruling and what it could mean for the livelihoods of doctors, nurses, and health professionals in our state. As Florida’s prohibition on vaccine mandates remains in effect for all industries, we will be evaluating next steps for enforcement in the coming days.”

Hesitancy toward the COVID-19 vaccines persists thanks in large part to the fact that, under the Trump administration’s Operation Warp Speed initiative, they were developed and released in a tenth of the time vaccine development usually takes and a quarter of the time it took the previous record-holder, the mumps vaccine.

Vaccine defenders note that this one-year development period was not starting from scratch, but rather relied on years of prior research into mRNA technology; and that one of the innovations of Operation Warp Speed was conducting various aspects of the development process concurrently rather than sequentially, eliminating delays unrelated to safety. However, those factors do not fully account for the condensing of clinical trial phases — each of which can take anywhere from 1-3 years on their own — to just three months apiece.

While cases of severe harm reported to the federal Vaccine Adverse Events Reporting System (VAERS) after taking COVID shots represent less than one percent of total doses administered in the United States, a 2010 report submitted to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services’ (HHS) Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) warned that VAERS caught “fewer than 1% of vaccine adverse events.” Last May, NBC News quoted several mainstream experts acknowledging “gaps” in federal vaccine monitoring.

Further, data indicates that widespread dissemination of the COVID vaccines has failed to end the pandemic. The federal government considers more than 208 million Americans (62% of the eligible) to be “fully vaccinated” (a moving target given the vaccines’ temporary nature), yet data from Johns Hopkins University reported in October shows that more Americans died of COVID-19 by that point in 2021 (353,000) than in all of 2020 (352,000). The Moderna vaccine has been available throughout all of 2021; the Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson shots were made available in late February.

Since the COVID-19 outbreak reached America in early 2020, DeSantis distinguished himself by rejecting lockdowns in favor of a more targeted approach that focused on protecting elderly Floridians, which spared the state the economic and social costs of lockdowns without losing more lives to COVID than comparable lockdown states.

Throughout the pandemic, DeSantis (who has been floated as a promising contender for the GOP’s 2024 presidential nomination) has been generally positive about the COVID vaccines while defending the rights and choices of Floridians regarding their own health, including standing against school closings, vaccine mandates, and mask requirements, as well as embracing therapeutics including hydroxychloroquine and monoclonal antibodies

In September, DeSantis hired Harvard-trained medical professor and cardiovascular researcher Dr. Joseph Ladapo as Florida Surgeon General and Secretary of Health. In October, Ladapo assailed the “climate of scientific dishonesty” regarding “both effectiveness and safety” of the COVID vaccines, reassuring conservatives that the DeSantis administration would maintain a balanced approach to the shots and follow the data as it evolves.