Florida official placed on leave over backing vaccines at work — Analysis
The state’s Department of Health placed the official on leave after he called his employees’ low vaccination rate “pathetic” and urged them to get the jab.
One of the top officers at Florida Department of Health was suspended for an email where he criticised his staff’s vaccine hesitation. It is now investigating whether the email was sufficient to constitute a complaint. “coercion.”
Raul Pino, Orange County Medical Director wrote an email earlier in the month to over 500 Florida Department of Health employees. He called out their resistance to getting vaccinated against Covid-19. In the email, Pino called the department’s low uptake rate – less than 40% had gotten two jabs only 13% had received boosters – “irresponsible” and “pathetic.”
“I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated,”According to local media, he did write. “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.”
Florida’s legislation passed last year prohibiting employers public or private from mandating vaccinations. To the department, Pino’s email could constitute an attempt to force the jab on employees.
“As the decision to get vaccinated is a personal medical choice that should be made free from coercion and mandates from employers, the employee in question has been placed on administrative leave, and the Florida Department of Health is conducting an inquiry to determine if any laws were broken in this case,”In a statement, a spokesperson from the department said that it was making an effort to reach out to various media outlets.
An epidemiologist, Pino joined the department in 2019 and, over the last two years, coordinated the response to Covid-19 in central Florida’s Orange County.
Republican Governor Ron DeSantis took a more relaxed approach to the management of the Covid-19 pandemic, after he had previously imposed a temporary lockdown. DeSantis made it a priority to give vaccinations to seniors and offered monoclonal antibody therapy for those who were seriously afflicted by the virus. Florida is the state with the highest number of cases per 100,000 people, and 17th for deaths per 100,000.
However, the state has the third highest overall Covid-19 death toll behind New York and California, a fact that Democrats have used to hammer DeSantis’ anti-mandate policies.
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