Officers resist getting shots, even as four times as many police died from Covid than gunfire last year.
More than 460 American law enforcement officers have died from Covid-19 infections tied to their work since the start of the pandemic, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the coronavirus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths in 2020 and 2021, the New York Times reports.
More than four times as many officers have died from Covid-19 as from gunfire in that period. There is no comprehensive accounting of how many American police officers have been sickened by the virus, but departments across the country have reported large outbreaks in the ranks.
While the virus has ravaged policing, persuading officers to take a vaccine has often been a struggle, even though the shots have proven to be largely effective in preventing severe disease and death.
Some elected officials say police officers have a higher responsibility to get vaccinated because they are regularly interacting with members of the public and could unknowingly spread the virus. The debate echoes concerns from earlier in the pandemic, when police officers in some cities resisted wearing masks in public.
Yet as more departments in recent weeks have considered requiring members to be vaccinated, officers and their unions have loudly pushed back, in some cases threatening resignations or flooding systems with requests for exemptions.
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