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DeSantis touts win after Special Olympics drops vaccine requirement

Governor Special Olympics
Posted at 8:27 AM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 11:16:34-04

ORLANDO, Fla. — Governor Ron DeSantis championed the reversal of a Special Olympics International vaccine mandate that had been planned for the upcoming USA Games in Orlando.

Thursday, Special Olympics announced it was "lifting the vaccine requirement for delegation members attending the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games ... as demanded by the state of Florida officials on May 27, based upon the Florida Department of Health's interpretation of Florida law."

"Delegates who were registered for the Games but were unable to participate due to the prior vaccine requirement now have the option to attend," according to the announcement.

Speaking Friday at the Rio Pinar Golf & Country Club in Orlando, DeSantis reiterated his argument that Florida's refusal to have vaccine mandates or "passports" has resulted in a resurgence in tourism and spending in the state economy.

"Your rights or your freedoms should not be circumscribed by your decision to take or not to take a COVID vaccine," DeSantis said. "That was inappropriate. At the end of the day, our view was there has to be choice in this regard."

The state threatened Special Olympics International with a $27 million fine if the vaccine requirement was not rescinded.

Joining the governor were Florida Surgeon General Dr. Joseph Ladapo and Department of Juvenile Justice Secretary Dr. Eric Hall. Hall clarified the fight was against the international arm of the Special Olympics organization and not the regional branch.

The USA Games run June 5-12.