In the midst of the pandemic, among the talk of mandatory face coverings and vaccinations for COVID-19, people are beginning to pay more attention to their local statutes.

UncoverDC received a tip to take a look at a provision in Florida state law, that would allow members of the State Department of Health to force an unwilling citizen to vaccinate in the time of a public health emergency. The provision allows the government employee the power to vaccinate or treat by “any means necessary”.

A look at the General Provisions for Public Health in Florida State Statute reveals just that. Found in Chapter 381, in Section 318.00315 is the following subsection (emphasis ours)

4. Ordering an individual to be examined, tested, vaccinated, treated, isolated, or quarantined for communicable diseases that have significant morbidity or mortality and present a severe danger to public health. Individuals who are unable or unwilling to be examined, tested, vaccinated, or treated for reasons of health, religion, or conscience may be subjected to isolation or quarantine.

a. Examination, testing, vaccination, or treatment may be performed by any qualified person authorized by the State Health Officer.
b. If the individual poses a danger to the public health, the State Health Officer may subject the individual to isolation or quarantine. If there is no practical method to isolate or quarantine the individual, the State Health Officer may use any means necessary to vaccinate or treat the individual.
This provision was added into the law in 2002, while Jeb Bush was governor, and hasn’t been amended or removed in the years since. It has remained the same for 18 years, and just now has come back to the forefront. A deep search of archives from that time period indicates that there wasn’t much public debate about the provision at all.
Vaccines have been a controversial topic over the past decade. The topic has renewed fervor recently, because of the “fast tracking” of a COVID-19 vaccine. Many in the medical community are raising red flags, alarmed that scientists are attempting to cram what is usually a 10-15 year process into just a year to two years.

Given the track record for similar trials, including a SARS trial in 2006 that was terminated when the vaccine caused pathological changes in the lungs of mice and worsened infection after administration, there is concern among many that a fast tracked vaccine for a Coronavirus may not be the most wise decision.

Now that the general public is facing ever increasing calls for vaccination as a requirement (with significant push back from many), citizens are beginning to peer into legislation in their states to see what their state policy is.

In conclusion, this provision isn’t a creation of Governor Ron Desantis, or even of Rick Scott. This provision was added under the leadership of Jeb Bush, and it seems even the most conservative of state legislators didn’t read the bill, or didn’t care to remove it.

Once again, Americans are learning why it is vitally important they be involved in local issues, and local elections.

 

Tracy Beanz is the Founder and Editor in Chief of UncoverDC. Follow her on Twitter @TracyBeanz