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Brevard refuses mandatory vaccine mandate for employees

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The Brevard County Commission in Florida last Tuesday refused a proposal from Commissioner John Tobia (pictured) to require first responders employed by the county to be vaccinated against COVID-19, according to News 6 partner Florida Today.

Tobia stated the proposal last week, citing an email from Brevard County Health Director Maria Stahl, in which Stahl stated that unvaccinated emergency medical technicians responding to a call may transmit the virus to a patient: “which could result in the death of a resident.”

The resolution would have required all Brevard County firefighters, paramedics, and emergency medical technicians who have direct contact with the public to receive the vaccine as a condition of employment, with certain exceptions required by law.

The proposal never went to motion after other commissioners signaled they would vote against it.

Commission Chair Rita Pritchett told Tobia: “I didn’t support a mandatory mask. I’m not going to support a mandatory vaccine, but I do get your point.”

Commissioner Bryan Lober said he would not consider supporting the proposal before clear evidence showing the vaccine prevents the spread of the virus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that while the vaccines are effective at preventing illness, the research on whether they prevent someone from contracting and transmitting the virus is mixed.

Lober said: “The bottom line is, I’m not going to force a needle into someone’s arm without there being an incredible set of extenuating circumstances, and we’re not even approaching that here.”

Commissioner Curt Smith echoed Lober’s comments, saying employees shouldn’t have to get the vaccine if they don’t want it adding it’s their choice, not ours.

The announcement of Tobia’s proposal drew concern and frustration last week from some local firefighters and their supporters, including the Brevard County Professional Firefighters union. The county and union currently are engaged in contract negotiations.



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