Ron DeSantis Throws Out Director For Coercing Staff To Get Vaccine

( Governor Ron DeSantis isn’t backing down on his therapeutics-first approach to battling the COVID-19 pandemic in his state, and is actively removing officials who attempt to bully their staff into taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

Dr. Paul Rino, the Orange County Health Director, has been placed on leave by the DeSantis administration after sending an email to staff on January 4 saying that he has a “hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.”

The email implied that anyone in his staff who didn’t take the vaccine was not practicing “public health” – a claim that is objectively untrue. Consider the fact that virtually anyone who is fully vaccinated and boosted can catch and spread COVID-19, it’s clear that taking the vaccine is not a matter of public health and should not be grounds for public health officials and workers to be p[unished or bullies.

Christina Pushaw, a spokeswoman for Ron DeSantis, sent an email on Wednesday to USA Today announcing that Pino had been placed on leave.

“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,” she wrote.

Pushaw added that the department must respect the ban on vaccine mandates for government employees, and “appropriate action” will be taken once the case has been fully investigated.

Pino was angry that only 219 of his 568 members of staff had received two doses of the vaccine.

But with COVID cases dropping nationally – and dramatically in the Northeast, where the pandemic has raged for years – it’s clearer than ever that the rapid spread of Omicron has been more effective in providing immunity than the vaccination program has.