Florida fines county $3.5M for violating COVID-19 vaccine passport ban

The Florida Department of Health on Tuesday issued a fine over $3.5 million to a county government for violating the state's ban on vaccine passports.

The Leon County government was fined $3.57 million for what the Florida Department of Health called a "blatant violation of the law relating to the ban of vaccine passports in our state."

"It is unacceptable that Leon County violated Florida law, infringed on current and former employees' medical privacy, and fired loyal public servants because of their personal health decisions,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantisRon DeSantisNearly 80 percent of Republicans want to see Trump run in 2024: poll Miami private school orders vaccinated students to stay at home for 30 days as 'precautionary measure' Democratic state Sen. Annette Taddeo announces bid to be Florida's first Latina governor MORE (R) said in the announcement of the fine.

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"We will continue fighting for Floridians' rights and the Florida Department of Health will continue to enforce the law. We're going to stand up for Floridians' jobs, stand up for Floridians' livelihoods, and stand up for freedom," DeSantis added.

Earlier this month, Leon County fired 14 employees who did not provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 by the stated deadline, according to Tallahassee Reports.

According to Leon County Administrator Vince Long, 700 county employees did show proof of full vaccination while 30 others provided accommodations.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, Leon County will continue to do everything reasonable and responsible to protect our community, to provide a safe and healthy workplace for our employees," Long wrote in a letter.

The Leon County School District was also among the districts to go against DeSantis's ban on mask mandates. Last week the Florida Board of Education voted unanimously in favor of sanctioning Leon County along with seven other school districts that had implemented mask mandates for students and staff.