Mayors of cities across America are introducing mandatory vaccination among municipal employees.
According to data collected by the National Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation, 71 law enforcement officers died from coronavirus in the United States in the first half of 2021, which is slightly lower than 76 deaths during the same period in 2020.
Despite the deaths, police officers and other people who provide first aid and work in emergency services often do not dare to get vaccinated, and their number continues to grow. There are no accurate statistics on the vaccination rate among emergency responders. Still, individual police and fire departments across the country report that vaccination rates among their employees are much lower than at the national level. At the moment, 74% of American adults have received at least one dose of the coronavirus vaccine.
City authorities are introducing mandatory vaccination for municipal employees, including police officers and firefighters, as the number of diseases associated with the outbreak of the Delta strain is growing in the United States. In case of refusal of vaccination, employees will either be forced to be tested weekly or suspended from service.
“This vaccine is really intended not only for your own protection but also for the protection of your colleagues, your community, people who go to your church or work at the school where your children participate,” Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan said recently. The Seattle Mayor’s Office requires that all municipal employees are fully vaccinated by October 18; otherwise, they face dismissal.
Unions across the country are resisting such actions. Shon Buford, president of the San Francisco branch of the firefighters ‘ union, called on the city authorities to postpone the date they need to be vaccinated from October 13 to a later date.
Twenty employees of the fire service who have not reported receiving a vaccination can be suspended from work without pay for 10 days. One of the firefighters sued the authorities of San Francisco, which became the first major American city whose authorities introduced mandatory vaccination for all municipal employees. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the vast majority of the 36 thousand employees of municipal services are vaccinated.
In Los Angeles, more than 3 thousand police department employees have become infected with the coronavirus, and their number continues to grow. 10 policemen, as well as three of their spouses, died from COVID-19.
Instead of the order of Mayor Eric Garcetti, signed on August 20 and requiring all municipal employees to be vaccinated, the Los Angeles Police Union proposed to introduce mandatory weekly testing for law enforcement officers, as was done in the New York Police Department.
According to the head of the Los Angeles Police Department, as of August 31, 51% of the department’s employees has been vaccinated. Over the past week and a half, more than a hundred police officers have been vaccinated.