A health official who assisted guide Florida’s reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic has been place on administrative leave as state officials look into whether he tried to compel staff to get vaccinated.

The point out health agency is conducting an inquiry into Raul Pino, director of the Florida section of overall health in Orange county, to “determine if any guidelines ended up damaged in this case”, the point out division of health push secretary, Jeremy Redfern, stated in an e mail.

Resources instructed WFTV that Pino was placed on administrative go away after he emailed staff customers at the Orange county office of well being regarding Covid-19 vaccination premiums on 4 January.

In the electronic mail, Pino wrote: “I have a tough time understanding how we can be in public wellness and not exercise it.”

He extra that he experienced an analyst analyze vaccination data among staff and that out of the department’s 568 active staff members, only 77 experienced received a Covid booster dose, 219 experienced two doses of the vaccine and 34 experienced only just one dose.

“I am sorry but in the absence of sensible and real motives it is irresponsible not to be vaccinated,” he wrote. “We have been at this for two years, we have been the initially to give vaccines to the masses, we have completed much more than 300,000 and we are not even at 50% … pathetic.”

Last calendar year, Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, signed into regulation a measure that bans govt agencies from applying vaccine mandates and restricts personal firms from acquiring vaccine requirements unless they permit personnel to choose out for clinical good reasons, spiritual beliefs, immunity dependent on a previous infection, normal testing or settlement to have on protective gear.

“We’re likely to stand up for Floridians’ employment, stand up for Floridians’ livelihoods, and stand up for independence,” DeSantis mentioned at the time in a assertion regarding the vaccine mandate ban.

The state’s department of well being has not still disclosed the rationale why Pino has been place on go away or what he is accused of. It has, nonetheless, reported that the “decision to get vaccinated is a personalized healthcare decision that ought to be designed totally free from coercion and mandates from employers”.

It went on to increase: “The employee in concern has been put on administrative leave, and the Florida department of overall health is conducting an inquiry to ascertain if any regulations ended up broken in this scenario … The section is committed to upholding all guidelines, including the ban on vaccine mandates for federal government employees and will consider correct action as soon as more information and facts is identified.”

In the previous, Pino spoke at quite a few Orange county Covid-19 briefings, supplying updates with regards to the pandemic and has worked intently with Mayor Jerry Demings, who has criticized DeSantis’s managing of the pandemic.

Carlos Guillermo Smith, a Democratic point out lawmaker, has identified as Pino’s suspension “political”.

Related Press contributed to this report