When the first COVID-19 vaccines became available, first responders—police, firefighters, etc.—were placed at the front of the line.
But now: Many are pushing back against vaccine mandates—and the virus is now the leading cause of line-of-duty deaths for US law enforcement, the AP reports.
- 132 law enforcement workers are confirmed to have died of COVID-19 so far in 2021, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
- Individual police and fire departments lag far behind the national vaccination rate of 74% of adults with at least 1 jab.
In LA: Hundreds of vaccine-opposing police department workers are teaming up with firefighters to resist mandates, the Los Angeles Times reports.
“I will not submit to this,” said John Knox, a leader of the Firefighters 4 Freedom group. “I will come to work every day, as long as I’m healthy. I will not wear a mask. I’m not going to test. And I will not get a shot.”
City leaders warn that unvaccinated, unmasked officers pose a public safety threat—but union reps counter that the city will be less safe if highly skilled officers are terminated or leave over vaccine mandates.