This Republican hasn’t been vaccinated for COVID-19 — but plays a major role in shaping Florida’s health policies
Although he was infected with COVID-19 during the 2020/2021 winter and recovered from it, Florida State Sen. Manny Diaz remains unvaccinated. Diaz, an ally of Gov. Ron DeSantis, is also the top Republican shaping health care policy in the Florida Senate, and he discussed Florida's COVID-19 policies during an interview with Florida Politics.
Florida Politics reporter Christine Jordan Sexton explains, "The senator, who acknowledges he hasn't gotten a COVID-19 vaccine, says he's firmly against vaccine mandates. At the urging of the governor, the (Florida State) Legislature earlier this year passed a bill that would prevent private businesses from requiring proof of vaccination from their customers. But the bill did not ban employers from requiring their employees to be vaccinated."
Sexton, however, notes that unlike some other Florida Republicans, the 48-year-old Diaz "does not endorse blocking private employers from requiring vaccines."
Florida currently has vaccine mandates in public schools for illnesses other than COVID-19. Sexton notes, "Republicans opposed to so-called 'vaccine passports' have faced criticism, particularly as it relates to schools where current law already requires a bevy of vaccinations. Under current law, only parents who cite religious or health reasons can have their children exempted from the vaccination requirements. Diaz said it may be time to 'review' those mandates, in place for such illnesses as mumps and measles. But he said there was a difference between long-tested vaccines and the new COVID-19 vaccine."
The Florida state senator told Florida Politics, "I think there's a distinction when you have something that is proven to work and doesn't have any side effects."
Readers who posted in the comments section in response to Sexton's article have been highly critical of Diaz. One reader wrote that "no sane person would ask for a review" of established health policies.
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