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Politics / Issues

Orange County's health director has been reinstated. He was on leave after vaccine email to staff

dr raul pino orange county.jpg
Orange County Government
Dr. Raul Pino, medical director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, is slated to be back at work on Tuesday.

The Florida Department of Health placed Dr. Raul Pino on leave in January after he sent an email to his staff citing its low COVID-19 vaccine rates and encouraging employees to get the shot.

Orange County Mayor Jerry Demings says county health officer Dr. Raul Pino will be returning to work after about two months on administrative leave.

Pino works for the Florida Department of Health, which placed him on leave in early January after he sent an email to his staff citing its low COVID-19 vaccine rates and encouraging employees to get the shot.

In the email, he wrote, “I have a hard time understanding how we can be in public health and not practice it.”

The state opened an investigation to see if any law was broken and issued a statement saying getting vaccinated is a personal choice and employees should be “free from coercion.”

The mayor — who described Pino as an ally with “sage advice” during the pandemic — announced the reinstatement during an interview on WDBO on Friday morning. Demings says it shows that Pino “was essentially vindicated of any serious wrongdoings.”

The Orlando Sentinel reports that Pino will return to work Tuesday.

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