Orange County, firefighters remain at odds over vaccine requirements

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings said those who don’t get vaccinated against COVID-19 will no longer risk being fired.

The mayor said he feels this is a fair compromise, and comes just one week before their vaccine deadline.

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This comes after a pushback, specifically, from the firefighters union.

Demings said Thursday afternoon he listened to the firefighters and made the compromise. He also issued an extension on the requirement, saying employees must have at least one dose by Sept. 30.

The firefighters’ union has been in negotiations with the county on this requirement for weeks now. But firefighters say they want the right to choose.

READ: CDC panel endorses COVID-19 booster shots for people aged 65+ and otherwise vulnerable

But firefighters and paramedics have expressed concerns because of what they say they are seeing on calls.

Roughly half of Orange County firefighters have not shown proof of vaccination.

READ: Firefighters protest against Orange County vaccine mandate

Overall, 84% of county employees are in compliance. That breaks down to 94% of non-union employees and 69% of union employees.

Demings said those who do not show proof of vaccination or present a valid, legal exemption will be issued a written reprimand and the county will put in additional health screenings for them. They will not be fired.

READ: Orange County firefighters push back on vaccine requirements

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Adam Poulisse, WFTV.com

Adam Poulisse joined WFTV in November 2019.