A top health official in Florida sent a frustrated email to his employees, giving them the facts about the staff's very low Covid vaccination rate. And for that he was suspended from his job.
In the email, Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, had dared to inform his staff of 568 that only 219 employees received two vaccinations, and only 77 got the booster shot.
"I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated," he said. "We have been at this for two years, we were the first to give vaccines to the masses, we have done more than 300,000 and we are not even at 50% — pathetic."
State officials are now sniffing out whether or not his email was pushing employees to get vaccinated, which would be breaking Gov. Ron Santis's law that prohibits vaccine mandates.
The state health agency is conducting an inquiry into Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, "to determine if any laws were broken in this case," Florida Department of Health press secretary Jeremy Redfern said in an email.
A measure Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last fall prohibits government agencies from implementing vaccine mandates and restricts private businesses from having vaccine requirements unless they allow workers to opt out for medical reasons, religious beliefs, immunity based on a previous infection, regular testing or an agreement to wear protective gear.
"The Department is committed to upholding all laws, including the ban on vaccine mandates for government employees and will take appropriate action once additional information is known," Redfern said in the email. He didn't offer further details. …
Pino has led the health agency in Orange County since 2019 and has served as a leading figure in the public response to the pandemic in metro Orlando.