In a recent turn of events, a top official of the Florida Department of Health has been placed under administrative leave after he criticised the staff over the vaccination rate. The point to notice is that last year Legislation of Florida prohibited any organisation or employer from mandating vaccination.
The incident came to light when Dr Raul Pino called out the unvaccinated staff, saying they were “irresponsible” not to get vaccinated. After the doctor’s statement, DOHC has started investigations against the doctor.
As per news reports, a DOHC spokesperson said, “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.” He added by saying, “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.”
As per the news reports, Dr Pino said, “I am sorry, but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons, it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated.” He added, “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.”
He also said,” I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.”
Dr Pino, a 58-year-old epidemiologist who joined the Department of Health in 2019, has headed the pandemic response for the Orange County region in central Florida.
The former Cuban immigrant became a regular feature at Covid-19 press conferences with the mayor in tourist-heavy Orlando over the last two years, encouraging people to keep safe in English and Spanish.
However, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who is allegedly exploring a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, has been a vocal opponent of vaccine mandates, describing vaccination as a personal choice.
According to Statista, the state has the third greatest death toll in the country, with over 63,000 deaths since the outbreak began, but ranks 18th in deaths per capita.