Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

More cities are requiring police to get COVID vaccine but some officers resist

Significant numbers of police officers officers across the country are refusing the COVID-19 vaccine, ignoring mandates and leaning on their unions to back them up.

Why it matters: The Fraternal Order of Police, a national police union that represents 356,000 officers, estimates that more than 500 officers have died from COVID since the pandemic began.

  • The union and other police groups did not know of any statistics around how many believe to have contracted COVID on the job — or how many may have spread the virus.

The big picture: Cases have surged nationwide thanks to the Delta variant. Police are a major, omnipresent labor force tasked with protecting and interacting with the public.

  • Like health care workers, teachers and the military, police officers' COVID status could have ripple effects.

Driving the news: Denver’s top public safety leader said last week he'll discipline police officers and sheriff’s deputies who ignore a mandate to get vaccinated. A Denver Police Protective Association survey found 57% of its members aren't vaccinated.

  • A 10th employee of the Los Angeles Police Department died last week from complications of COVID-19 as the department saw 36 more cases, the Los Angeles Times reported. Half of the department remains unvaccinated.
  • The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs' Association promised that deputies would quit en masse or seek early retirement over San Francisco Mayor London Breed's new vaccine mandate for officers. The group says 160 out of 700 deputies are not vaccinated due to religious or other beliefs.
  • In Michigan's Van Buren Township, west of Detroit, Adam Byrd, president of the local Police and Dispatchers Union, recently said perhaps one in five of the township's police and fire officials might quit as a result of a vaccine mandate.
  • New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that by Sept. 13 "every single city employee will be expected to be either vaccinated or tested weekly. This means everybody...this means the NYPD." He promised "consequences" and to be "very tough if a city government employee does not wear a mask and they are unvaccinated."

The intrigue: The Fraternal Order of Police has said the science is clear about the safety of the COVID-19 vaccines and recommends its members get vaccinated.

Yes, but: "We are a union and we will defend our members," executive director Jim Pasco told Axios. "You cannot tell people what to do. It's still an individual and personal choice."

  • Pasco denounced officials threatening officers with termination over defying vaccine mandates.
  • Specifically, he called out Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo for telling unvaccinated officers to go work elsewhere: "That's management by tantrum. That's not going to work. Have a conversation and encourage officers, but don't act childish."

Between the lines: Employers have the right to mandate vaccinations as a condition of employment, legal scholars say.

  • "Does the state generally have the power to impose vaccination requirements on workers? Historically, the answer has been yes," South Texas College of Law Houston constitutional law professor Josh Blackman told Axios.

But, but, but: Many police officers are represented by unions, and it would have been impossible for agreements to include mandates around COVID-19 vaccines before the pandemic, Blackman said.

  • Such mandates could be in violation of collective bargaining agreements, he said. "Unions don't like to yield ground. They like to fight for every single benefit. So if they're suddenly giving up members' rights, then they're perhaps giving ground for some future collective bargaining battle."

Why the startup world needs to ditch "unicorns" for "dragons"

When Aileen Lee originally coined the term "unicorn" in late 2013, she was describing the 39 "U.S.-based software companies started since 2003 and valued at over $1 billion by public or private market investors."

Flashback: It got redefined in early 2015 by yours truly and Erin Griffith, in a cover story for Fortune, as any privately-held startup valued at $1 billion or more. At the time, we counted 80 of them.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Facebook's new moves to lower News Feed's political volume

Facebook plans to announce that it will de-emphasize political posts and current events content in the News Feed based on negative user feedback, Axios has learned. It also plans to expand tests to limit the amount of political content that people see in their News Feeds to more countries outside of the U.S.

Why it matters: The changes could reduce traffic to some news publishers, particularly companies that post a lot of political content.

Keep reading... Show less

Scoop: Amazon quietly getting into live audio business

Amazon is investing heavily in a new live audio feature that's similar to other live audio offerings like Clubhouse, Twitter Spaces and Spotify's new live audio platform, sources tell Axios.

Why it matters: As with Amazon's efforts in podcasting and music subscriptions, the company sees live audio as a way to bolster the types of content it can offer through its voice assistant, Alexa, and its smart speaker products.

Keep reading... Show less

Hurricane Ida exposes America's precarious energy infrastructure

The powerful hurricane that plunged New Orleans into darkness for what could be weeks is the latest sign that U.S. power systems are not ready for a warmer, more volatile world.

The big picture: “Our current infrastructure is not adequate when it comes to these kinds of weather extremes,” Joshua Rhodes, a University of Texas energy expert, tells Axios.

Keep reading... Show less

"We must go further": 70% of adults in European Union are fully vaccinated

About 70% of adults in the European Union are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission, said Tuesday.

Why it matters: The milestone makes the E.U. one of the world's leaders in inoculations, after an initially lagging vaccine campaign, the New York Times notes.

Keep reading... Show less

What Elizabeth Holmes jurors will be asked ahead of fraud trial

Jury selection begins today in USA v. Elizabeth Holmes, with the actual jury trial to get underway on Sept. 8.

Why it matters: Theranos was the biggest fraud in Silicon Valley history, putting both hundreds of millions of dollars and thousands of patients' health at risk.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories