Police officers across the country are vaccine hesitant, raising concerns over their potential to spread the virus during interactions in communities they are sworn to protect, reports 4029 News. Many agencies are “strongly encouraging” officers to get the vaccine, but reports across the country show they are lagging behind. Of the NYPD’s roughly 36,000 officers and 19,000 civilian employees, 40 percent had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which is nearly 20 percent less than the percentage of New York City adults with at least one shot.
In Ohio, 28 percent of 1,800 sworn personnel had received at least their first shot by early May, but officers are not required to report their status. In other cities like California, Maryland and Oregon, about half the percent of their officers were vaccinated. The vaccine reluctance among officers comes after a year in which COVID-19 was the biggest killer of law enforcement in the United States, accounting for at least 145 line-of-duty deaths, according to preliminary data from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. With over 356,000 members, the National Fraternal Order of Police urged federal and state governments to make law enforcement a priority in vaccination access in a statement. However, the nation’s largest police union said, “the decision to receive the vaccine is an individual one.