AdventHealth, a massive Florida-based healthcare company running several hospitals, has suspended its vaccine requirement for its 83,000 employees.
The move comes on the heels of multiple legal actions launched against the Biden administration's workplace vaccine mandate and after Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill to prevent private employers from enforcing vaccine mandates.
"Due to recent decisions by the federal courts to block the CMS vaccine mandate, we are suspending all vaccination requirements for our COVID-19 vaccination policy," a Dec. 2 letter sent from AdventHealth central Floriday division's chief clinical officer Neil Finkler reads. "All workplace members who are employed, performing tasks or providing services for AdventHealth are not required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, or to have received an approved exemption."
Because of the "complexity of federal and state laws surrounding exemptions," AdventHealth announced it will not be processing any new requests for exemptions and will only process what's in the system as of Dec. 2.
However, the policy does not change the requirement for workers to declare vaccination statuses with the medical staff offices. "AdventHealth's position continues to be that the COVID-19 vaccine is the most effective took for keeping our team members, patients and communities safe," the letter concludes.
"Based on scientific evidence and what we see in our hospitals every day, COVID-19 vaccines are safe and effective at reducing both the risk of becoming infected and the level of harm in the case of a breakthrough infection," AdventHealth said in a prepared statement. "As part of our commitment to protecting the health and well-being of our team members, patients and communities, we strongly encourage all of our team members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine."
AdventHealth said it will continue to monitor the ongoing litigation regarding the federal law, WFTV reported. The health organization had sent a letter to employees saying workers had until Dec. 6 to get the first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines or a single shot of Johnson & Johnson vaccine and until Jan. 4 to receive the second dose of the two-shot vaccines, ClickOrlando.com reported.
DeSantis spokesperson Christina Pushaw responded to the news, stating that the governor's office welcomes AdventHealth's decision to comply with state law, protect Floridian jobs, and ensure the state's healthcare system can continue to function. "Florida's health care system would be devestated if Biden's unconstitutional mandate were allowed to stand," Pushaw stated.
"Florida will continue to stand for freedom, and to challenge unlawful federal overreach," Pushaw concluded in a direct message to FOX 35 Orlando.
"Wonderful news for Floridians, especially health care workers and their families. Thanks for sharing this," Pushaw added on Twitter.
Walt Disney World had also halted its vaccine requirement for workers.
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