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Orange County medical director placed on leave as state probes vaccine email to staff

Leon County Judge John Cooper on June 30, 2022, in a screen grab from The Florida Channel.
Orange County Government
The Florida Channel
Dr. Raul Pino, medical director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, has been put on leave.

In the email to his staff, Dr. Raul Pino wrote: “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.” The state is working to determine whether any law was broken.

The medical director of the health department in Orange County has been put on administrative leave as state officials investigate whether he tried to compel employees to get vaccinated for COVID in violation of state law.

A state Department of Health spokesperson said Tuesday that the agency is working to determine whether Dr. Raul Pino broke any laws. A measure Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law last fall prohibits government agencies from implementing vaccine mandates.

Pino wrote an email to staff on Jan. 4 encouraging them to get vaccinated and boosted for COVID. In the email he wrote, “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.”

After sending the email, he was placed on administrative leave.

In an email to WMFE, the Department of Health confirmed Pino was put on leave because “the decision to get vaccinated is a personal choice that should be free from coercion and mandates from employers.”

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Copyright 2022 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.

Danielle Prieur