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DeSantis defends medical freedom of Special Olympians, prohibits sports organization from enforcing vaccine passports and mandates

Florida, one of the few states that prohibits vaccine passports and mandates, prevented Special Olympics International from enacting what the DeSantis administration calls an 'unscientific and illegal policy.' 

DeSantis defends medical freedom of Special Olympians, prohibits sports organization from enforcing vaccine passports and mandates
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall
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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is defending the medical freedom of Special Olympians, prohibiting the organization’s insistence on enacting the requirement for proof of vaccination from all participating athletes. 

Florida, one of the few states that prohibits vaccine passports and mandates, prevented Special Olympics International from enacting what the DeSantis administration calls an “unscientific and illegal policy.” 

Following the organization’s attempt to enact the vaccine mandate, the Florida Department of Health sent a letter to Special Olympics International advising them that the mandate was in violation of state law. In response, the organization revoked the unlawful mandate and allowed unvaccinated athletes to compete. 

The story should have ended there, but members of the legacy media took it upon themselves to publish numerous articles condemning the DeSantis administration for enforcing state policy. 

USA Today described the DeSantis administration’s move as an extension of his “cruelty and white nationalist-adjacency,” stating that he goes “beyond attacking the vulnerable.” The article insisted that the Health Department’s letter to Special Olympics International to drop the mandate was “a mandate that potentially saves lives.” 

Not one to let USA Today get all the glory, the L.A Times described the letter as a “remarkable act of legal extortion,” and demanded answers from everyone involved. The publication says that the move by the DeSantis administration was an example of its “sheer thuggishness,” and scolded the organization for “caving” to DeSantis. 

Rolling Stone magazine also joined in the fray, by accusing DeSantis and his administration of using its authority to punish an “insufficiently conservative” organization like the Special Olympics. 

The Florida-based Palm Beach Post suggests in its own article that the move to enforce state law against vaccine mandates was a direct “appeal to the anti-vax mob,” and falsely accused DeSantis of “demonizing gays.” 

It is worth mentioning that the DeSantis administration observed the loss of 49 lives in the Pulse Nightclub terrorist attack against the state’s Hispanic and LGBTQ communities in Orlando. To honor the memory of the victims, DeSantis ordered all state flags to be lowered to half-staff. 

“Florida’s Special Olympics organization has made every effort to comply with the law and respect athletes’ personal medical decisions. However, the Special Olympics International policy was in violation of state law, so we are glad they revised it to come into compliance and host an inclusive Special Olympics in Florida. Like everyone else, Special Olympics athletes have the right to make the best choices for their own personal health, in consultation with their doctors and loved ones. Vaccination is not necessarily the right choice for some individuals, because the risks may outweigh the benefits,” said DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw in a statement. 

Thanks to DeSantis’ enforcement of state law, 70 Special Olympics delegates who were previously banned from competing due to medical discrimination were able to participate in the games this year. 

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