Florida Governor Ron DeSantis signed legislation to prohibit vaccine and mask mandates on Thursday.
DeSantis’ announced his four new ‘Prescribe Freedom’ bills during an event in Destin. Senate Bill 252 prohibits workplaces, government agencies and schools from requiring COVID-19 vaccination or masks.
The governor began his speech by referencing the intense criticism that Florida faced during the COVID-19 pandemic.
‘Everything we were doing in Florida, we were getting attacked. We were getting attacked by bureaucrats like Fauci. We were being attacked by the political left. We were being attacked by corporate media. And we were even attacked by some Republicans,’ DeSantis said.
‘I mean, that’s just kind of the way it goes. But we stuck to our guns because we believe that we are doing the right thing for the state,’ he added.
The legislation also formally denounces World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations in Florida. It also protects alternative COVID-19 treatments.
‘You should have the right to try these [alternative COVID-19 treatments] under the supervision of your physician, and that is protected in the state of Florida,’ DeSantis said.
Another component of the legislation is Senate Bill 1387, which bans gain-of-function research. DeSantis said gain-of-function research in Wuhan, China, was likely to blame for the pandemic.
‘What we know is there was gain-of-function research being conducted at Wuhan, and that very likely led to the emergence of COVID-19. And yet there really isn’t effective regulation,’ the governor said.
Senate Bill 1580 also ensures freedom of speech and whistleblower protections for physicians.
‘We want our physicians practicing evidence based medicine. We don’t want it to just defer to authority or to just follow the herd,’ DeSantis explained. ‘So that is now law in the state of Florida.’
DeSantis’ remarks come nearly a week after the WHO announced that the COVID-19 pandemic was no longer a global emergency.
But despite the announcement, WHO officials still warn that the pandemic is technically not over. Countries in Southeast Asia and the Middle East have reported some spikes in COVID-19 cases.