He threaten this Special Olympics with $27 million in fines. Who does that?” he said, failing to explain that the DeSantis administration did so to stand up against the vaccine mandate requirement, which would have prevented many athletes from participating. What is more, some athletes attempted to comply with the mandate so they could participate, and the results were dire.
“This June with the Special Olympics, they imposed on the athletes a COVID vaccine mandate. … If you did not submit and you did not get the COVID vax, you would be denied the ability to compete in the Special Olympics,” DeSantis said during a press conference in June, explaining that some got the vaccine “even against their judgment”:
So for example, there was a family from Kansas. They went to six different doctors to plead for a medical exemption for their son that had Down syndrome, wanted the exemption from the vax, wanted to be able to compete. They were told to just get the first dose and if he experiences any side effects, then the medical exemption will then be offered. Well, the son with Down syndrome did do that under pressure, had a seizure, was rushed to the hospital after his first dose. And so then he was granted the exemption after having to go through that, which was so unnecessary, and it was just something that was totally ridiculous. And so you’re seeing that over and over where these people are gonna have to make these decisions and it’s not necessarily some of it’s just personal choice, which is fine by me, but some of it you actually have advised against doing this. And a lot of these special olympians have also had COVID by now because I mean, most people have had it by now. And so to impose that mandate now in June of 2022, you know, it didn’t make sense.