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Biden, DeSantis Clash on Vaccine Mandates

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Susan Walsh
The Florida Channel
President Joe Biden, right, looks at Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, during a briefing with first responders and local officials in Miami, Thursday, July 1, 2021, on the condo tower that collapsed in Surfside.

President Biden said he was disappointed in Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican governors who "have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities."

President Joe Biden expressed disappointment Friday in Gov. Ron DeSantis and other Republican governors who have criticized a White House directive to require COVID-19 vaccinations and tests for large numbers of public and private workers.

Appearing at a Washington, D.C. middle school to urge parents to get children vaccinated if eligible, Biden initially replied “have at it” when asked about opposition to his new vaccination requirements.

Biden’s plan, in part, will require vaccinations for workers at health facilities that are part of the Medicare and Medicaid programs, executive branch workers and contractors doing business with the federal government.

“Look, I am so disappointed that particularly some Republican governors have been so cavalier with the health of these kids, so cavalier with the health of their communities," Biden said.
"We're playing for real here. This isn't a game."

Biden also is directing the Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration to develop a rule requiring vaccinations or weekly tests for people at all employers with 100 or more workers.

On Thursday, DeSantis said “we will fight” any effort to implement a vaccination rule through the Department of Labor.

“I don't think they have the legal authority to do that,” DeSantis. “But we obviously would want to support protections for people who are just trying to earn a living.”

DeSantis said such a mandate could alienate people, who would then have less incentive to get the vaccine.

“How could we get to the point in the country where you would want to have someone lose their job because of their choice about the vaccine or not?” DeSantis said. “I mean, look, some folks have reasons … maybe they're making the wrong decision, but to put them out of work, and not let them earn a living because of this, I just think that that's fundamentally wrong.”