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Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Florida health official suspended after call for employee vaccinations

The District Director of the Florida Department of Health was placed on administrative leave on Jan. 19 after an email appeared that may have violated state law.

The email was written on Jan. 4 by Dr. Raul Pino, director of Orange County, who complained that a low percentage of the county’s health care workers had been vaccinated.

Pino wrote that 38 percent of healthcare workers completed the vaccination series, 13 percent received a booster dose of the vaccine, and six percent received a single dose.

He said an analysis of employee vaccination data showed that of the department’s 568 active employees, only 77 received a booster dose of COVID-19, 219 received two doses of the vaccine, and 34 received one dose.

The email has been passed on in its entirety to The Epoch Times of the Florida Department of Health.

“I find it hard to understand how we can do public health and not practice it! There may be many reasons, but there are so many of us? Pino wrote.

“I’m sorry, but at this point in the absence of reasonable and real reasons not to get vaccinated is irresponsible.

“We have been doing this for two years, we were the first to give vaccines to the masses, we have made more than 300,000 and we have not even reached 50 percent. It’s a pity,” Pino wrote.

Director of the Florida Department of Public Health, Orange County, Dr. Raul Pino. (Courtesy of the Florida Department of Health)

The Ministry of Health released the following statement:

“Because the decision to vaccinate is a personal medical choice that must be made free from employer coercion and prescription, this employee has been placed on administrative leave and the Florida Department of Health is investigating to determine if any laws are in place. were violated in this case,” Health Department spokesman Jeremy Redfern said in a written statement.

“The Department is committed to complying with all laws, including the ban on vaccination of government employees, and will take appropriate action as more information becomes known.”

Orange County Mayor and former Sheriff Jerry Demings, who is currently battling COVID-19, released a statement Jan. 19 about Pinot’s role and “the current employment status at the Department of Health.”“Doctor. Raul Pino has been our trusted partner and friend throughout the pandemic.

“His sound medical advice has helped me and countless other Orange County leaders make the best decisions possible in the fight against COVID-19,” Demings said.

“I really hope that Dr. Pino will return to work soon on behalf of the people of Orange County.”

Pino came to Central Florida from New England, where he settled after leaving Cuba as a political refugee 25 years ago.

He graduated from medical school in Cuba, underwent a plastic surgery course at the Naval Hospital in Havana.

His first job in the United States was blueberry picking in Connecticut, but he wanted to return to the medical ranks because the United States did not recognize his medical degree in Cuba.

Pino returned to school and received a master’s degree in public health from the University of Connecticut School of Medicine.

He was hired by that state’s Department of Public Health as an epidemiologist and later served as commissioner.

In May 2020, Pinault and his family moved to Orlando, after which he became an Orange County Health Officer.

Several newspaper reports referred to him as “Dr. Fauci from Central Florida” as he attended press conferences with Mayor Demings when he broke the news about COVID-19 and spoke to the public using his Spanish bilingual skills.

The Florida Legislature passed legislation banning vaccination mandates and providing medical and religious exemptions, including for government employees.

On November 18, the governor signed the bill.

On Jan. 12, the U.S. Supreme Court blocked the Biden administration’s vaccine mandates but allowed them to defend the interests of medical workers who worked in facilities receiving federal money.

Yannis Falkenstern

To follow

Yannis Falkenstern is a Epoch Times reporter covering Florida.

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