Police officers in cities around the country and their unions continue to push back against requirements that officers get vaccinated against COVID-19, threatening resignations and lawsuits, reports the New York Times. Some elected officials say police officers have a higher responsibility to get vaccinated because they regularly interact with the public and could unknowingly spread the virus.
Union leaders continue to contradict and ignore these concerns, with the Chicago president of the Fraternal Order of Police urging officers to ignore requirements that city employees report their vaccination status and a police union leader in Baltimore telling officers not to disclose their vaccination status to city officials amid negotiations over a mandate scheduled to take effect there next week. Meanwhile, San Jose, California has decided to allow unvaccinated officers to remain employed through the end of the year despite a newly-implemented vaccine mandate. And while some cities, such as Ann Arbor, Michigan, have maintained a commitment to vaccine mandates for city employees, many police unions, such as those in Seattle, have expressed concerns that ongoing officer shortages will worsen because of vaccine mandates. More than 460 American law enforcement officers have died from Covid infections, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the coronavirus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths in 2020 and 2021.