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Florida suspends county health officer for daring to encourage vaccination among his employees

According to The Orlando Sentinel:

Dr. Raul Pino, who became a trusted voice of the pandemic response in the nation’s tourist capital, has been placed on administrative leave from his post as the state’s chief health officer in Orange County as the Florida Department of Health conducts an investigation.

Sources who spoke to the Orlando Sentinel on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss Pino’s status said he was placed on administrative leave after a Health Department employee complained about an email he sent Jan. 4 to agency staff about employee vaccination rates.

I can’t believe what I just read. Truly …

It’s hard to believe this is Pino’s only “offense.” He must be selling human organs out of an Igloo cooler in his ‘70s shaggin’ wagon or something, because suspending a doctor for encouraging people to get vaccinated against a deadly disease that’s already killed more than 800,000 Americans seems, erm, rather daft.

According to media reports, in the Jan. 4 email to his employees, Pino wrote, “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.” He also noted that only 77 of 568 members of his department had been boosted against COVID-19, while 219 had received two doses and 34 had received just one. “I am sorry but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated,” Pino stated in the email. “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.”

Yeah, that is pretty pathetic. But somehow Florida was able to make it pathetic-er by punishing the guy who was being compassionate and responsible and refusing to champion the deeply held values of the death-spreaders.

Remember that the next time a conservative tells you they’re all about “common sense.”

”Clearly vaccines are working for us … and are the solution to this crisis,” Pino said in December as the omicron variant began to pick up steam. “The vaccine continues to be effective against the variants.”

Right? I mean, if more people were listening to Pino and fewer to Ron “Gasping Goofus” DeSantis, neither Florida nor the U.S. would have much of an omicron crisis at all.

For what it’s worth, here’s how the Florida Department of Health responded to this bonkers controversy: “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,” spokesperson Weesam Khoury stated in an email to The Orlando Sentinel. “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.”

Hmm. That’s … bizarre. And rather Orwellian coming from a “health” department.

Then again, I suspect every Florida government agency is just a glorified Ron DeSantis for President campaign office these days. Should we really expect any better?

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