During a Friday press conference, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis called a win the decision by the Special Olympics to reverse the mandate that otherwise would have required thousands of athletes competing in the games to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
On Friday, the Special Olympics issued a statement detailing that it would lift its mandate as directed by state officials on May 27 "based upon the Florida Department of Health's interpretation of Florida law."
According to Politico, this year's Special Olympics USA Games will kick off Sunday and wrap up on June 12. Initially, the Florida Department of Health sent a letter to Special Olympics International threatening a $27.5 million fine on Thursday if the organization sought a vaccine requirement. A copy of the letter indicated that the Special Olympics had asked 5,500 people to provide proof of vaccination upon entry to the 2022 USA Special Olympics Games, which violates a state ban requiring proof of vaccination.
"[Special Olympics International] was unable to bring the event into compliance for the benefit of their delegates," the letter read. "And reinstate all who were denied access based on proof of vaccination."
DeSantis called the decision to reverse the requirement a win for thousands of athletes.
"What connection that has to competing," DeSantis said of COVID-19 vaccines, "I don't understand. We've never seen something wielded like this vaccine to try to marginalize disfavored people.
"And a lot of these Special Olympians have also had COVID by now. Most people have had it by now."
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