Disney World has decided to freeze its mandate that all workers be vaccinated against human papillomavirus or “HPV,” following the state’s decision to ban the mandatory vaccination in Florida this week.
The change comes just a few days after the world’s largest theme park announced a tiered vaccination system for its employees and visitors in an effort to control the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases such as whooping cough and whooping cough.
Disney claimed the new system was a proactive measure to ensure guests and employees were protected from potential illness at its parks. It also served as a “competitive advantage” to competitors, said spokeswoman Kim Prunty.
The policy for workers includes a vaccine requirement if a job requires extended movement and a vaccine recommendation for jobs in which there is daily contact with minors.
Disney has been one of several major employers to impose mandatory HPV shots on most or all employees over the last several years, with the exception of airport and health care workers. New York State passed a bill last year requiring all employees to get the vaccine. Only those employed with healthcare in New York State are exempted, as are employed in the following “specialized industry” professions: dentists, barbers, cosmetologists, optometrists, opticians, veterinarians, and pediatricians.
The state-mandated vaccination requirement was on the front burner in Florida this week after an advisory board convened by Governor Rick Scott, a Republican, voted unanimously to ban the mandatory vaccinations. The measure was introduced and supported by the conservative Center for Consumer Freedom, which wants all employers to require children at school to be vaccinated, according to its website. It said the legislation was expected to save taxpayers billions of dollars in healthcare costs.
Disney’s mandatory HPV immunization policy, with all required vaccines, outlined at the bottom of this page https://t.co/zpDFHTWV8O #ProtectionForAll pic.twitter.com/t9PvHb0EGa — TurtleDeo (@turtledeo) April 11, 2016
The advisory board also asked Florida’s Department of Health to issue a policy statement with how it would respond to a request for exemptions from vaccinations, as well as who should be exempt from those exemptions.
Both sides disagree over which vaccines are more important. Vaccinations are generally opposed by those who believe they protect everyone from disease and require everyone to have shots, while those who believe vaccines are “not worth it” against some ailments believe they can prevent diseases. In the case of HPV, which is one of the most common and preventable of the sexually transmitted diseases, parents say they should decide the dose of vaccine that will be given to their children.
In an editorial published in the Orlando Sentinel, Scott expressed his support for his vaccine policy, even though it conflicts with the state’s policy. He said that protecting Florida’s children and making sure that all of them are vaccinated is a priority.
“As parents, we decide what vaccines to give our children,” he wrote. “That decision is a personal one that we should always have the final say in the best interest of our children.”
“We must follow the sound science of these vaccines,” he added. “Today’s decision will protect Florida’s most vulnerable.”