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Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has threatened any government agency mandating a Covid jab as a condition of employment with fines, and said ignoring natural immunity suggests vaccine mandates are about control, not public health.

“We are not going to let people be fired because of a vaccine mandate,” DeSantis told a crowd in Gainesville on Monday, flanked by public sector workers threatened with termination unless they submitted to the mandate. “If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition of employment, that violates Florida law and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation.”

DESANTIS: “If a government agency in the state of Florida forces a vaccine as a condition of employment, that violates Florida law and you will face a $5,000 fine for every single violation.” pic.twitter.com/hnBCplDMKO

— Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) September 13, 2021

Florida has worked hard to make Covid-19 vaccines “available for all but mandatory for none,” the Republican governor argued, and said it was “fundamentally wrong” to throw away first responders and other front-line workers that had been hailed as heroes until recently.

Speaking after a firefighter who recovered from the virus, DeSantis pointed out that vaccine mandates make no provision for natural immunity conferred by the infection.

“This is not about science,” he said. “I don’t support mandates at all, but if you’re doing mandates based on this, if you’re really following science, you’d acknowledge this natural immunity. And instead they ignore it.”

While DeSantis said he opposes vaccine mandates, he doubly opposes the Biden vaccine requirements because they don’t take conferred immunity into account. pic.twitter.com/kukWxYMgxl

— Philip Melanchthon Wegmann (@PhilipWegmann) September 13, 2021

The mandates seem to be less about medical issues than about government power and control, DeSantis added. He called their imposition across the US “very intrusive, and I think illegal.”

Last Thursday, President Joe Biden announced he would use the federal regulator OSHA to require businesses with 100 or more employees to mandate vaccinations, as part of a strategy to “reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans.”

“We’ve been patient but our patience is wearing thin, and your refusal has cost all of us,” the president said. The mandate has been met with widespread opposition from Republicans, with two dozen states saying they would take legal action against it.

A state mandate in New York has already caused one hospital to ‘pause’ delivering babies, as the Lewis County Health System management said last week they would be “unable to safely staff the service after September 24.”

Several public employees spoke at the same event with DeSantis, pointing out they are being forced out over refusal to take the vaccine. Everyone who applied for an exemption from the mandate was denied in Gainesville, said one city worker and a US Marine Corps veteran, who concluded her remarks with “My body, my choice, no one else’s business. I will not comply.”

Anthony Sabatini, a Republican state lawmaker who’s running for Congress in 2022, argued on Monday that banning public sector vaccine mandates is good, but doesn’t go far enough. Republicans, he said, need to block corporate mandates as well and protect 88% of the state’s workforce, otherwise they will have created a special carve-out for the government “while every private sector laborer gets abandoned and screwed.”

But if Florida Republicans fail to do this second step, then it’s WORSE than having done nothing at all—since it would have clearly been a special carveout for Government, while every private sector laborer gets abandoned and screwed

— Rep. Anthony Sabatini (@AnthonySabatini) September 13, 2021

DeSantis has already banned Florida school districts from imposing mask mandates, and won an appeal against a district judge that tried to block it. Biden has vowed that the federal government will compensate any school official whose pay DeSantis withholds due to the mandate, however, and the Justice Department is seeking to oppose the ban on grounds that it violates the rights of students with disabilities somehow.

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