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DeSantis reaches new heights of anti-vaxxism

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I’m so old I remember when “respectable” conservative pundits would get really offended if you pointed out that DeSantis was anti-vaxx, since after all he had made a few pro forma pro-vaccine statements while his policies worked to reduce vaccination rates. Fortunately they can afford to be made to look ridiculous:

Florida’s top public health official in Orlando has been placed on administrative leave after sending an email to his employees noting their lackluster coronavirus vaccination rates and urging them to get the shots.

The official — Dr. Raul Pino, the administrator for the Florida Department of Health’s office in Orange County — sent the email on Jan. 4, in the thick of a surge in cases caused by the Omicron variant.

In the email, Dr. Pino said that he had asked a staff member to pull out the vaccination rates for the office, and that the figures were alarming: Of the office’s 568 employees, only 219 — fewer than half — had completed a full vaccination series, and just 77 of them had received a booster shot, a number he called “SUPER LOW.”

“I am sorry, but in the absence of reasonable and real reasons, it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated,” Dr. Pino wrote in the email, which was first reported by WFTV, the local ABC News affiliate. He called the office’s vaccination rate “pathetic.”

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

Jeremy T. Redfern, the press secretary for the Department of Health, confirmed in a statement that Dr. Pino was on administrative leave, and that the department was “conducting an inquiry to determine if any laws were broken in this case.”

The decision to get vaccinated “is a personal medical choice that should be made free from coercion and mandates from employers,” Mr. Redfern wrote.

Leaving aside the fact that vaccine mandates are excellent policy that were uncontroversial before Joe Biden was inaugurated, there was no “coercion” involved here either; he just said that getting vaccinated was good. In Ron DeSantis’s Florida, this is now beyond the pale.

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