Orange County Tax Collector standing behind decision to require COVID vaccines for employees

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Orange County Tax Collector Scott Randolph has announced that vaccination against COVID-19 will become a requirement for all employees.

Randolph issued the memo Monday, giving all employees until August 31 to get fully vaccinated or face termination.

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The updated vaccine policy includes exceptions for medical or religious reasons.

Anyone granted an exception on those grounds will be required to submit a negative COVID test at the start of each work week.

READ: ‘We are now in crisis mode’: Orange County reporting 1,000 new COVID cases daily

Randolph’s memo cites a law requiring them to provide a safe work environment as one of several factors making the new policy necessary.

“Our healthcare is paid by taxpayer dollars...it’s not right for them to pay for something that is easily avoidable,” Randolph said.

It’s the first Central Florida government agency to enact such a mandate, but more could follow.

“Veterans affairs is going to require that all docs working in facilities are going to be vaccinated,” President Joe Biden announced in a briefing Monday.

READ: COVID-19 hospitalizations near all-time high at AdventHealth, officials say

The announcement came as President Biden faced increased pressure to take a harder stance against vaccine holdouts.

Central Florida’s largest healthcare system, AdventHealth, is also considering enacting a mandate for its employees.

A spokesperson for AdventHealth says discussions are already underway regarding requirements for their healthcare personnel.

The American Hospital Association is supportive of vaccine mandates for healthcare workers, as long as hospitals consider their individual circumstances.

Employees with the Orange County Tax Collector’s office who choose a COVID vaccine that requires two doses will have to get their first shot by August 3 if they opt for the Moderna vaccine, or August 10 if they choose Pfizer.

“If they don’t want the vaccine, then we will wish them well,’ Randolph said. “This is a public job. maybe this isn’t the job for them.”

READ: Orange County tracking rise in pregnant women infected with COVID-19

Randolph said lawyers told him he’s on good legal ground.

The tax collector’s office is hosting two COVID vaccine events this week for employees and the general public.

The first will be held Tuesday at their West Oaks Mall facility. The second will be held Wednesday at the tax collector’s office on Lee Vista Blvd.

Shannon Butler

Shannon Butler, WFTV.com

Shannon joined the Eyewitness News team in 2013.