Orange County Department of Health head put on leave after criticizing staff's COVID-19 vaccination rate

click to enlarge Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino - Screenshot via Orange TV
Screenshot via Orange TV
Orange County Health Officer Dr. Raul Pino

The director of Orange County's Department of Health has been put on administrative leave by the state after criticizing his own staff's vaccination rate against COVID-19.

Dr. Raul Pino — who has led the county through several years of the pandemic in a state wholly opposed to fighting coronavirus — let some of that frustration show when emailing his staff recently. Pino chastised staff at the OCDOH for not hitting vaccination goals they pushed for residents.

“I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated,” Pino wrote. “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.”

Florida has passed several laws and jumped in several lawsuits to push against employer vaccination mandates. The Supreme Court sided with the state in rejecting a federal vaccination mandate for large employers under OSHA. The state Department of Health said they are looking into whether or not Pino broke state laws in his critical email.

“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," they said. "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.”

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