TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — A state lawmaker wants to strip Florida of its ability to mandate vaccinations.
Rep. Anthony Sabatini, R-Clermont, filed a bill this week seeking that change in the upcoming legislative session.
"It's just too much power for the government to have," Sabatini said.
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Current Florida law allows the state's health officer to issue the mandates during health emergencies without exemption. The lawmaker proposes removing vaccinations from the law's current language.
Sabatini, a believer of limited-government, said individual rights should take priority even amid deadly dangers like COVID-19.
"I believe in a free society where people make their own decisions," he said. "I trust people more than I trust government."
If approved, Sabatini’s bill would take effect in July.
Groups like the American Medical Association declined to weigh in on the issue -- but members have for years advocated ending most vaccine exemptions in schools. The AMA credits those mandates for controlling a slew of diseases.
"When people are immunized, they also help prevent the spread of disease to others," said AMA Board Member Patrice A. Harris, M.D. in a release about the organization's policy. "As evident from the recent measles outbreak at Disneyland, protecting community health in today's mobile society requires that policymakers not permit individuals from opting out of immunization solely as a matter of personal preference or convenience."