“Despite getting early access to COVID-19 vaccines, inoculation rates among local law enforcement agencies fall below the average in Santa Clara County: Only 60% of Palo Alto Police Department personnel said they’re fully vaccinated, trailing well behind Mountain View police and the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Office, according to data collected by the county in June.
“The situation is reversed when it comes to local fire departments, where Palo Alto reports nearly universal vaccination and Mountain View is above average at 88%.
“The city of Palo Alto reports that nearly all of its fire department staff, 97.5%, have been vaccinated as of last month, well above the countywide average of 76.6%.
“But the high inoculation rates do not extend to other first responders, notably police and sheriff’s deputies working in county jails. Only 60% of Palo Alto police officers report that they have been fully vaccinated as of June 18, according to a department survey, while 24% declined to state their vaccination status, 10% did not respond and 6% said they were not vaccinated.
“So what’s causing the vaccine hesitancy? Surveys conducted by the firm EMC Research found that unvaccinated county residents are worried about side effects and concerned that there hasn’t been enough research to ensure the COVID-19 vaccine is safe. Vaccination rates among men between the ages of 18 and 44 are the lowest at 62%, followed by women of the same age at 69%. Fewer Latino residents have received the vaccine (68%) than white residents (80%), Southeast Asians (76%) and East Asians (75%).
“Vaccination rates also appear to have a partisan slant: 84% of those who identified as Democrats have received the vaccine, compared to 62% of Republicans. Of those who identified as Republicans, 26% said they were “resistant” to vaccination, meaning they would either refuse to get it unless required or would refuse under any circumstance…”
After reading this article I see there is a great gap between police and fire department vaccination rates along and a significant gap between Democrats and Republicans:
Police personnel 60.0%
Fire personnel 97.5%
County residents 76.6%
All this certainly begs the question about how we get health information; from scientists or politicians and whether in the public’s interest (and the interest of employees in these organizations) of whether or not Covid vaccination should be mandatory.
I happen to think that it should be among emergency personnel like police, fire and EMS.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police also has opined on the legality of requiring mandatory vaccinations for police personnel:
“Police leaders in the U.S. may require employees to be vaccinated without violating any federal statutes. However, employers are required to consider religious accommodation requests under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and medical accommodation requests under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This aligns with the ways in which departments may similarly mandate tetanus; hepatitis; measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR); and/or flu immunizations, or issue medical requirements for health and fitness.” [See full article HERE.]
So, it looks like police management can order Covid vaccinations under certain circumstances. However, scanning the nation’s news on this subject leads me to believe that the strategy taken by police leaders is currently one of voluntary compliance — pushing the point that good policing involves having healthy police and all employees should vaccinate.
However, as the Delta variant of the virus starts raising the infection (and death) rates, stronger measures may need to be taken to better protect those who serve and those whom they serve.
Mandatory vaccinations may soon be coming.