Disney and other theme park companies working with Walt Disney World in Orlando will suspend administering vaccine mandates to employees following a recent state law that threatens to ban visitors and workers from entering attractions that refuse to vaccinate their children.
Disney spokesman Bryan Malenius confirmed the company’s plan to halt the anti-vaccination policy to an Orlando Sentinel reporter. “As a policy, our company respects public health, and we currently do not mandate that our employees be vaccinated,” he said. “We will continue to review and assess the potential economic impact of the recent law.”
The change will apply to a broad range of Disney employees, including hotel concierges, garage attendants, and cast members.
The National Center for Policy Analysis, a conservative think tank that has promoted anti-vaccination policies, applauded the decision.
“Disney knows that their guests are highly educated about the benefits and risks of vaccines, and they are refusing to play along,” said Mark Bittman, the group’s health information and research analyst. “Those who believe that giving children too many vaccines will lead to irreversible autism will be sadly disappointed.”
Thousands of parents with children attending Florida public schools attended the Florida session, watching and cheering as House Bill 142, which restricted vaccine requirements for children attending public schools, passed.
“The nurses, the doctors, the nannies, the alligators: They worked hard to defend the things they think are good, and I’m going to come home and I’m going to protect my child,” Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, told those at the state Capitol.
Many children attend schools across the state. The bill could now be applied to at least one city’s school district, which could send thousands of families away from Florida. An infection rate of over 20,000 in the state is leading officials to research vaccines as part of a larger response to the far-reaching disease outbreak that has battered parts of the state in recent months.
The anti-vaccination movement is taking shape with increasing certainty. A data scrub earlier this year turned up indications that some medical practitioners were simply ignoring government-mandated surveys of vaccination rates. Some publicly-traded health businesses have plummeted.
A shift toward anti-vaccination is gaining steam in other states. Texas has banned food code that mandated parents to vaccinate their children before they were allowed to visit hospitals or prisons. There is pushback from health professionals and others.
“Let’s be clear here: The worst-case scenario is not what happened in Florida; it will happen again and again and again,” Paul Offit, director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, wrote in a statement after the law passed. “But it’s time to talk about how we stop it.”
Mr. Offit said children with infectious disease deserve to receive their required vaccines, but the anti-vaccination movement can’t be dismissed as an emotional, reactive issue. Rather, he said, it is “a long-standing and well-funded effort by a well-organized and well-funded anti-vaxx movement.”
As part of the contract with a theme park company, a company has a legal responsibility to ensure safety and good behavior, he wrote. “If the parent of a student sick with measles doesn’t expect that his child will be protected by his annual school immunization coverage and wanderers, then you can expect that parents will be foregoing the right to ensure their children’s safety.”
Read the full article on The Orlando Sentinel.
Florida governor signs anti-vaccination bill