ORLANDO, Fla. - A temporary injunction is giving all workers hope that there could be a choice when it comes to the coronavirus vaccine.
Many have been protesting vaccine mandates. Some are from private companies like Disney, and others are government employees.
Now, they believe they have a new shot at avoiding the vaccine after a judge issued a temporary injunction, stopping Gainesville City commissioners from enforcing a vaccine mandate starting October 1. It prevents government employees like Robin Webb from being fired.
"I was very relieved, very relieved that the judge issued the injunction," Webb says.
She says she got the vaccine, but it made her sick. She refuses to get any booster shots.
"It’s either work or lose my life if I get another shot and I just can’t do that."
"This was the first one in the entire country. It wasn’t like I had a precedent that I could draw from," Attorney Jeff Childers says of the judge’s injunction.
He says other government workers have been reaching out to him for help. He currently represents 250 Gainesville city employees who are against the vaccine mandate, "Including firefighters, cops, utility workers, electrical line .workers, paramedics," he added.
"It gives us a lot of hope."
Orange County Firefighter Jason Wheat believes the injunction in Gainesville is a big win for all government employees who believe in having a choice.
"Power in numbers and more of us stick together and what we believe in and we’ll be able to get this mandate to go away."
Even though Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says he wouldn’t terminate anyone for not following the vaccine mandate. He would still issue a reprimand.
Jason says, "If they get a written reprimand, they’re automatically eliminated from the promotional process, so this hurts us overall."
We asked attorney Jeff Childers if the reprimands could be a liability in Orange County.
"I do. I think they’re equally unconstitutional as termination."
Demings has been passionate in wanting to keep employees safe but also consults with his legal team when dealing with these issues.
The City of Gainesville issued this release stating:
"The City of Gainesville will continue to strongly encourage its employees to get vaccinated as we work to improve vaccination rates among our workforce through education and incentives. We recognize the reality of vaccine hesitancy and vaccine disinformation but agree with public health experts that vaccination is key in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. City leaders will continue to meet with union leaders before presenting an employee vaccination plan to the commission as directed."
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