Police officers and others responsible for public safety should view vaccination against COVID-19 as a key part of their role, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, said during an interview Sunday on Fox News.
“Think about the implications of not getting vaccinated when you’re in a position where you have a responsible job, and you want to protect yourself because you’re needed at your job, whether you’re a police officer or a pilot or any other of those kinds of occupations,” said Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
Police unions in cities across the country are urging members to resist COVID vaccine requirements for their jobs. In Chicago, the head of the police union told officers to ignore a city order to report their vaccination status by the end of the day Oct. 15. Vaccinations are not required for city workers, but employees who are not vaccinated will be subject to twice-weekly testing. John Catanzara, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Chicago, released a video last week predicting that Chicago police officers would not report to work because of the vaccination policy.
In Seattle, the union said that the city’s shortage of police officers would worsen because of a vaccine mandate. On Sunday, Fauci said that employees in public service who resisted vaccination were misguided.
“I’m not comfortable with telling people what they should do under normal circumstances, but we are not in normal circumstances right now,” Fauci said. “Take the police: We now know the statistics; more police officers die of COVID than they do any other causes of death. So it doesn’t make any sense to not try to protect yourself, as well as the colleagues that you work with.”
More than 460 U.S. law enforcement officers have died of COVID, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page, making the virus by far the most common cause of duty-related deaths this year and last. More than four times as many officers have died from the virus as from gunfire in that period.
“Things like mandating, be they masks or vaccinations, they’re very important,” Fauci said. “We’re not living in a vacuum as individuals. We’re living in a society, and society needs to be protected. And you do that by not only protecting yourself but by protecting the people around you, by getting vaccinated.”
This article originally appeared in The New York Times.
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