DeSantis: Athletes allowed to compete in Special Olympics USA Games regardless of vaccination status

ORLANDO, Fla. — Gov. Ron DeSantis appeared in Orlando for the Special Olympics USA Games.

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His message was, “let them compete.”

DeSantis said that at one point, some of the athletes were not able to compete because of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

He said that it was something he saw as a problem and believes it is something people should have a choice about.

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In the news conference, he said the Special Olympics International’s requirement to have all athletes vaccinated or have a special exemption violated Florida state law.

He was joined by Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo, who said that the state had notified the Special Olympics International about this six months ago.

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The state and the Special Olympics International have been talking behind the scenes for some time.

The state was concerned that several athletes would not be able to compete because of the vaccine mandate.

He said the state and Special Olympics International have come to an agreement, and everyone will be allowed to compete regardless of vaccination status.

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DeSantis said that with the late notice, some athletes won’t be able to get to the games.

Channel 9 will reach out to Special Olympics International and the USA Games for their response.

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Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.