TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Time is up for thousands of Florida health care workers required to get the COVID-19 vaccine.
While the Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration’s vaccine mandate for private businesses, it upheld the mandate for health care workers.
That meant the mandate for health care workers was set to go into effect Thursday in Florida.
“I’m taking care of them when they’re being intubated, being suctioned and airborne particles are right in my face, so even though I was taking precautions, I felt like it would be in my best interest to go ahead and vaccinated against it,” said Hershey Pyle, a frontline worker in a COVID ICU.
Pyle decided to get vaccinated because she works closely with COVID-19 patients. However, she’s skeptical of the mandate.
“We worked with these COVID patients for over a year and a half, almost going on two years now without a vaccine, and we have done an excellent job,” Pyle said. “What is most concerning is that there hasn’t had time for a lot of testing, or a lot of research specific to this vaccine. It was kind of rushed. We don’t know the full effects.”
Florida had challenged the mandate in court but gave up the legal battle after the Supreme Court ruled the requirement was legal.
The rule applied to any medical provider that takes part in Medicare or Medicaid programs.
Health care workers will need to either have the first dose by Thursdays deadline or have a pending request for an exemption.
Workers will then have another month to get fully vaccinated.
Pyle said she believes getting vaccinated should be a personal choice.
“We are adults,” she “I understand the science probably better than some politician that’s telling me I have to get it done.”
In a tweet Wednesday, Florida’s Attorney General Ashley Moody praised the SCOTUS decision to drop a vaccine mandate for businesses, however she criticized President Joe Biden after the justices upheld the health care mandate.
“Glad to see OSHA withdraw its vaccine mandate today after our SCOTUS win, but surprised it’s pushing forward to finalize a similar rule,” Moody tweeted. “@JoeBiden doesn’t know when to quit. I’ll continue to fight to ensure American workers are not forced to receive the shot against their will.”
DeSantis has also vowed to keep fighting the rule.