Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla., who is a candidate for governor in Florida, is urging Gov. Ron DeSantis to mandate that all state employees get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Crist, a former Florida governor, made his comments in a statement released Tuesday, according to The Hill.
"I’m calling on the governor to immediately require that our state employees be vaccinated or if they choose not to, be regularly tested and wear a mask indoors," Crist said. "If Disney, Walmart, and our military can do it, our state government can as well."
"Let’s be clear, while anyone can spread the virus, vaccines work. This latest phase of the crisis is a pandemic of the unvaccinated. The way to stamp out the virus, and protect our public health, economy and our jobs, is to get everyone vaccinated."
And he added: "The fact of the matter is that there is no reason for Florida to once again be in this position. It’s time to stop playing games and get serious about ending this pandemic once and for all."
The Hill noted his comments came as Florida has emerged as the new epicenter of the pandemic in the U.S. as the Delta variant continues to surge. The state now accounts for roughly one in five new cases nationally.
The South Florida Sun Sentinel, citing data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, noted on Tuesday that the number of people hospitalized for COVID-19 in the state jumped to an all-time high of 11,515 patients in one day.
The newspaper reported that on Monday, the data revealed there were 10,489 hospitalizations in Florida.
The Tampa Bay Times said Crist’s comments came after President Joe Biden announced last week that federal workers must attest to being vaccinated or be required to wear a mask and be tested.
But the newspaper reported DeSantis, a Republican, appears to have no intention of following Crist’s suggestion.
"Gov. DeSantis does not believe it is the state’s role to make personal medical decisions for individuals," spokeswoman Christina Pushaw said.
She pointed out that the vaccine’s effectiveness in preventing serious illness and death "should be motivation for people to choose to get vaccinated."
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