Police in the United States refuse COVID-19 vaccines
Police across the United States are refusing to comply with COVID-19 vaccination warrants, with many resigning their jobs or suing rather than receiving a vaccine.
In August, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot demanded that all city employees who were not fully immunized by October 15 must undergo COVID-19 tests twice a week. Each unvaccinated employee is required to undergo a test every three to four days, on their free time and at their own expense. The test option is only available until the end of this year. After December 31, city employees must be fully immunized, unless they have received an approved medical or religious exemption.
The mayor’s tenure met with opposition from Chicago police. Almost a third of the 13,000 members of the Chicago Police Department have so far refused to register their vaccination status, putting them on the path to dismissal. City officials report that 21 police officers have been formally removed from their posts so far.
John Cantanzara, chief of Chicago’s largest police union, called on the union’s roughly 11,000 members to challenge the city’s demand to declare vaccination status. After the city announced the vaccine’s mandate in August, Cantanzara compared it to Nazi Germany, telling the Sun-Times, “This is not Nazi Germany. … ‘Get into the… showers, the pills won’t hurt you.’ ”
He said up to half of Chicago’s police force would take unpaid leave rather than report their immunization status.
“This is the city’s clear attempt to force agents to ‘Chicken Little, The Sky is Falling’ into compliance,” he said last week. “Don’t fall for the trap. Stay on the line.”
A judge granted the city’s request for a temporary order banning Cantanzara from making public comments encouraging union members to resist the warrant. However, he continued to post videos on the union’s YouTube channel in defiance of order. In a video posted online Tuesday, Cantanzara threatened to sue the Lightfoot administration if it tried to enforce the warrant.
Sen. Mike Braun, a Republican from Indiana, announced that officers in Illinois who lose their jobs due to vaccination warrants may turn to Indiana for new positions, saying the officers “deserve the respect ”.
In a statement to Fox News, Braun said, “Our police do the toughest job in the world and they deserve respect – not losing their pay or being fired for refusing to comply with a ridiculous vaccine warrant.”
The conflict in Chicago reflects a larger trend across America. Police departments have faced resistance in their efforts to get police officers to comply with vaccination warrants, despite reports indicating COVID-19 is now the leading cause of police death in the country, according to National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. According to the organization, 133 police officers died from COVID-related causes in 2021, more than gun and traffic-related deaths combined.
Some cities have released figures showing that police department employees tend to be vaccinated at lower rates than most other public servants and at lower rates than the general public. In Los Angeles, where vaccines are mandatory for city workers, more than 2,600 police department workers have said they intend to seek a religious exemption.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva has said he will not enforce the county’s new vaccine mandate within his agency. He oversees the country’s largest sheriff’s department, with around 18,000 employees. LA County has set a deadline for the vaccination of county employees by October 1. Villanueva said his employees were prepared to be made redundant rather than getting the shot.
“I don’t want to be able to lose 5.10 percent of my workforce overnight on a vaccination warrant,” the sheriff said.
Los Angeles County has recorded more than 26,000 COVID-related deaths, and health officials are reporting an average of 14 deaths per day, despite slowing hospitalization rates.
The union representing New York City police officers vowed to sue the city government on Wednesday, hours after Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for all city workers in New City. York.
Sheriff John Mina of Orange County in Florida said he had brought in a doctor to answer questions from MPs about vaccination and offered three days off for those who were getting vaccinated. However, the latest figures show that around 45 percent of employees, who submitted their immunization status, were still unvaccinated. The sheriff said he opposed the warrants and said his officers deal with “violent criminals carrying guns all the time, and I think they think that may be more of a threat.”
In Milwaukee, city officials were forced to strike a deal with the city’s police union earlier this month that requires union members to be vaccinated or wear masks while on duty, except when eating. or drink at a safe distance from others.
Firefighters and police from across New Jersey gathered to protest vaccination warrants last week in Newark, the state’s largest city. Several unions representing officers and firefighters have filed legal challenges against Newark mayor Ras Baraka’s vaccine requirement for city workers.
In Seattle, dozens of police and firefighters were fired Monday for refusing to comply with a vaccination warrant. On Tuesday, dozens of former cops and firefighters left their boots on the steps of Seattle city hall and posted videos on social media of them feeding the homeless. The Washington State Patrol also lost 127 employees as a result of the warrant, including 67 soldiers, six sergeants and a captain.