Vice: A year and a half after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Fruitland, Maryland, Police Chief Brian Swafford says the COVID-19 vaccination rate within his department is far behind where he’d like it to be. And he’s having a helluva time convincing officers to get the potentially life-saving shot, especially when politics come into play.
“Some people that voted for Trump are the ones now saying, ‘Oh I’m not getting it,’” said Swafford, whose department of 20 officers is 60 percent vaccinated. “Well Donald Trump got this vaccine, and so it’s the same vaccine that you’re gonna get under President Biden. So because your guy didn’t win now, it’s a hoax? Come on.”
“If their decision is based on politics and not their health, I’d like to change their mind,” he added. “I wish I could get them to step back and look at it a different way, but they’re just not going to.”
Since the start of the global pandemic, more police officers have died of COVID than all other causes combined in the line of duty. Just by the nature of their work, having to interact with the public on a near-daily basis, exposure to the virus is almost a certainty.
But despite the mounting death count, law enforcement officers in the country are simply not getting vaccinated. Their reluctance—whether over politics, retaliation for growing criticism toward their profession, or distrust for something as new as the COVID-19 vaccine—is putting themselves, and the communities they’re supposed to serve, at risk. And their bosses are running out of ways to convince them otherwise. Read more…