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Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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Special Olympics Drops Vaccine Mandate After Pressure From Florida

  • The state threatened to levy a $27.5M fine for violating a law prohibiting COVID-19 vaccine mandates.
  • Special Olympics: “We don’t want to fight. We want to play.”
Alicia Devine/Tallahassee Democrat — USA TODAY NETWORK

Ahead of this weekend’s opening ceremonies in Orlando, the Special Olympics has elected to change its vaccine policy rather than pay a hefty fine.

The state of Florida threatened to levy a $27.5 million fine on the organization for violating the state’s law prohibiting organizations from requiring its participants to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

In a letter to the Special Olympics, the Florida Department of Health said it would issue a fine for each of the 5,500 individuals in attendance, leading to the multimillion dollar sum.

In a corresponding statement, the Special Olympics announced that it would be lifting the mandate, saying, “We don’t want to fight. We want to play.”

Florida governor Ron DeSantis — an Honorary Co-Chair of the games — said, “This will be a relief to a lot of the athletes… There’s a significant number of them who were in limbo up until this week.”

The 2022 USA Games run June 5-12.

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