FL Doctors Speak Against Legislature’s Decision to Block COVID-related Health Mandates November 18, 2021

Dr. Howard Kessler, MD, President of Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida joins Democratic Women’s Club of Florida, Rep. Anna Eskamani, Rep. Fentrice Driskell, Rep. Angie Nixon and Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith to speak out against anti-health measures being pushed by Florida legislative leadership and Governor Ron DeSantis.

Physicians for Social Responsibility Florida (PSR/FL) has serious concerns about the recent passing of four bills blocking public health mandates to help prevent the spread of COVID within businesses and government agencies across the state. Rather than passing laws that hinder the implementation of science-based health measures, the Florida Legislature and Governor Ron DeSantis should be protecting Florida residents by encouraging people to take advantage of free vaccines and promoting fact-based public service announcements.

Dr. Howard Kessler, President of PSR/FL argues “We are currently living through the continued threat of life created by one of the greatest health crises the nation has seen. Vaccination remains the top priority for Florida and the nation to put an end to the crisis. Evidence has shown that most of the people dying of COVID-19 in recent months were not vaccinated. We can safely achieve herd immunity through vaccination without thousands of people dying. The more people vaccinated, the less of a biologic pool we give the virus to mutate. Where vaccination rates are low, experts estimate that we can save thousands of lives by committing ourselves to getting vaccinated and following important science-based public health guidelines for masking and other preventative measures. This should be the Florida legislature’s top priority.”

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic Governor Ron DeSantis has left public health consequences of the pandemic to the people and the federal government to address. It is an outrage that he would call a special session to block suggested COVID-19 health mandates now when we have over 60% of the state vaccinated and Florida remains in the top 5 states with the highest rate of COVID-19 related deaths.

Board member for PSR/FL, Dr. Ankush Bansal stated, “The science has shown, time and time again, that the COVID vaccine works to save lives and reduce the chance of serious illness from the virus. The Florida legislature should fulfill its primary responsibility to protect its citizens through upholding and allowing vaccine mandates despite the well funded disinformation campaign. People should get medical information from their own doctors, not politicians. This is our shot. We need to take it.”

Florida has been traumatized by the pandemic. Minority and marginalized communities often face greater exposure risks from the pandemic because of the relatively greater job insecurity and savings. Vaccination and mask mandates by businesses and government agencies are critical components to preventing the spread of the infection and allowing Floridians to return to a more normal way of life. We must allow businesses and government agencies to protect their employees and the public. By blocking this path the Florida legislature will put us at grave risk of extending the pandemic with no ability to return to a safe workplace, safe schools, and safe recreation.

PSR Florida calls on Governor Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature to put public health before political gaming. Each legislator took an oath to uphold the Florida Constitution and serve their constituents. If they are true to their oath, they should be encouraging people to vaccinate and protect themselves by using masks not blocking science-based public health mandates that protect all Floridians and move us closer to true freedom and the end of the worst public health crisis in decades.

Dr. Ankush Bansal, MD, Speaks Out on Florida Anti-Health Special Legislative Session warning that now is our time to do all we can to stop the pandemic.

Dr. Lynn Ringenberg, MD, board member of Physicians for Social Responsiblity Florida and past president of Physicans for Social Responsibility in Washington, DC speaks out on Florida Legislature Anti-Health Measures.

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