Manny Diaz wants to ‘review’ existing non-COVID-19 vaccine mandates
Manny Diaz wants to review vaccine mandates. All of them.

FLAPOL102517CH087
Diaz opposes vaccine mandates, but supports private business decisions on them.

Florida’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to be a major focus during the 2022 Legislative Session for Sen. Manny Diaz, the top Republican shaping health care policy in the upper chamber.

His work could include revisiting existing vaccine requirements long in place in schools, a response to the debate about whether COVID-19 vaccines should also be required.

Diaz, who came down with COVID-19 last winter, said he wants to review the state’s vaccination efforts as well as Gov. Ron DeSantis’ work on getting monoclonal antibody treatments to those who test positive for COVID-19.

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 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.

Unlike some Republican colleagues, Diaz said he does not endorse blocking private employers from requiring vaccines.

It “gets more complicated,” Diaz said of striking a balance between individuals’ and employers’ rights.

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 exempt their children from vaccination requirements.

Diaz said it might 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.

“I think there’s a distinction when you have something that is proven to work and doesn’t have any side effects,” Diaz said.

The Senate Health Policy Committee will do more than focus on COVID-19, however. Diaz, who works for Doral College, said the committee will take up a telehealth — also known as telemedicine — bill during the 2022 Session. Telehealth was relied on heavily during the pandemic as physicians tried to limit in-person visits to help curb the spread of COVID-19.

Physician lobbyists pushed lawmakers earlier this year to update the state’s telehealth laws. Though there were several bills in play, none of them ultimately passed. The bills would have altered existing telehealth law to include more flexibility, such as allowing physicians to prescribe controlled substances to existing patients for treating chronic, nonmalignant pain.

Diaz also said it’s possible his panel could spend time on scope-of-practice items, but he was less sure about whether the committee would again address the so-called “eyeball wars,” the name given to the long-standing battle between ophthalmologists and optometrists.

Diaz last year sponsored a bill that would have expanded health care procedures optometrists could perform, including allowing them to perform certain types of surgeries and broaden the types of medications they could prescribe.

The bill, which ophthalmologists opposed, cleared Diaz’s committee 6-3 before stalling.

Diaz said he did not want to take up something if its passage was far from certain. He said it could be considered if there was a “sweet spot” where “folks are comfortable” with the approach.

Christine Jordan Sexton

Tallahassee-based health care reporter who focuses on health care policy and the politics behind it. Medicaid, health insurance, workers’ compensation, and business and professional regulation are just a few of the things that keep me busy.


16 comments

  • joe

    September 23, 2021 at 11:40 am

    Please vote all Republicans out of office – They are truly the Death Cult Party

    • Mish

      September 23, 2021 at 2:55 pm

      Truly they are! All the people dying in the COVID ICUs in Florida are Fox-news-watching, QAnon-believing, Facebook-meme-educated Republican Trump-boot-lickers. These so-called “leaders” are actually killing off their own base.

      So many Floridians duped into collecting their posthumous Herman Cain Awards. It’s really disturbing.

  • Karen Carpenter

    September 23, 2021 at 12:13 pm

    Is there a single functioning frontal lobe among FL voters? Like…do you people even understand what an utter disgrace you are?

    • Alex

      September 23, 2021 at 12:58 pm

      You can’t use big words with them.

      Reading is hard enough.

    • Linwood

      September 23, 2021 at 2:41 pm

      Not among GOP voters, no.
      GOP voters in Florida are simply idiots. Each and every one of them. There’s absolutely no excuse for something like this other than being a complete idiot.

  • Adam

    September 23, 2021 at 2:02 pm

    It’s time we build a wall around Florida

  • Cliff Gephart

    September 23, 2021 at 2:08 pm

    Manny Diaz is a god damn lunatic and needs to be removed from office immediately. This is fucking insane.

  • Linwood

    September 23, 2021 at 2:24 pm

    Call his office and demand an explanation for this.
    No sane person would ask for a review on established and successful health policy like this. It’s quite possible that Senator Diaz isn’t mentally competent to hold office.

    District Office
    10001 Northwest 87th Avenue
    Hialeah Gardens, FL 33016
    (305) 364-3073

  • Peter

    September 23, 2021 at 7:18 pm

    Cheer up, Afghanistan and Pakistan!
    Your lonely days of being the only countries in the world where polio is a problem are nearly over.

  • Marla

    September 23, 2021 at 8:30 pm

    Good gravy, people. Hair on fire news reporting is getting boring.

    “But he said there was a difference between long-tested vaccines and the new COVID-19 vaccine.

    “I think there’s a distinction when you have something that is proven to work and doesn’t have any side effects,” Diaz said.”

    • Gary

      September 23, 2021 at 11:46 pm

      Then why even conduct a review of something that works and has no side effects?

  • Dirk

    September 24, 2021 at 7:03 am

    Can we have some popcorn and soda? It seems that the reality shit show ‘Florida’ is on tele again.

  • Peggy

    September 24, 2021 at 12:17 pm

    I’m sure this will go over well with the tourism industry when there are travel advisories against coming to Florida because polio and measles are a thing here again.

    But whatever, it’s not like tourism is a major industry in Florida or anything.

  • Steve Barrett

    September 24, 2021 at 1:35 pm

    As retired Canadians who enjoy spending cold weather months in Florida and spending a fair bit of $$$, I think we will look for al alternate place to winter. Florida has become Trump-shit crazy …… they will destroy their tourism industry if this continues.

  • Andrew Carson

    September 24, 2021 at 3:17 pm

    Florida or Federal AG needs to prepare Criminal Negligence charges for these people, for WHEN the deaths start getting logged.

  • B. D. Colen

    September 25, 2021 at 3:57 pm

    Gee, Christine Sexton, is it really possible you don’t think you have a responsibility to follow each false statement made by this man who is endangering public health with a simple statement of the facts?

Comments are closed.


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