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Informed consent would have helped the COVID debate | Letters
Here’s what readers are saying in Wednesday’s letters to the editor.
Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, puts on his mask after speaking during a COVID-19 briefing at the Orange County Administration Center, on July 19, 2021.
Dr. Raul Pino, director of the Florida Department of Health in Orange County, puts on his mask after speaking during a COVID-19 briefing at the Orange County Administration Center, on July 19, 2021.
Published Jan. 26

COVID and second opinions

Not a good example | Editorial, Jan. 25

The Tampa Bay Times Editorial Board is exactly right to denounce the suspension of Orange County’s public health chief, Dr. Raul Pino, for urging his employees to get vaccinated — but is overly kind. This was an outrage. It is not uncommon, not confined to one side of the political dialectic over COVID-19 and not solely attributable to official actors. Last year, CNN reported the terrifying loss of hundreds of public health professionals at the worst possible moment. This was an underestimate that included only the top level in agencies, did not account for suppression beneath them and did not encompass professionals in clinical practice or academia. Science should never be deemed “settled.” I am certain that public confidence in and acceptance of expert guidance would have vastly improved had the public been given access to second opinions on all COVID-19 policy matters; that is, informed consent. Debates are more honest, informative and persuasive than dictates. On vaccination, Dr. Pino’s side would prevail overwhelmingly. But instead of that, the public will receive only the outcomes of a bureaucratic process. As if that would put more people lining up for vaccinations than are waiting for tests.

Pat Byrne, Largo

Teachers of the year

Meet the Teacher of the Year finalists | Jan. 25

Thank you for not only providing photos and educational backgrounds of the finalists for Pinellas County Teacher of the Year but also personal statements about their work with children. It is inspirational to read what motivates them to become champions, cheerleaders and important influencers in the lives of students beyond the subject matter they are teaching. Congratulations to the schools and children lucky enough to spend time daily with adults who are both well educated and extremely interested in improving the future for all of us.

Jackie Booth, Tampa

What’s the real threat?

Florida immigration debate renewed with GOP bill | Jan. 25

Maybe the workers associated with the Florida sheriffs and others concerned about “freedoms” should protest the mandate in the bill that a Florida Senate committee pushed through that requires Florida sheriffs to perform functions of the federal immigration authorities. A federal mandate to require vaccinations for health care workers certainly met a lot of resistance with the Florida Senate and others. It seems to me that unvaccinated health care workers would be more of a threat to the general public than immigrant children and their families.

Michael Lang, Seminole

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