Written by Justin Culetu
The San Diego County Supervisors voted in a 3-2 decision striking down a proposal to vaccinate the city’s law enforcement officers against COVID-19. All three “no” votes came from the Democratic supervisors, with Republican Supervisors Joel Anderson and Jim Desmond voting in favor of vaccinating officers.
With 4,000 local law enforcement officers in San Diego County, the city has the ability to vaccinate all of these brave men and women in one day if they coordinate properly, according to KUSI.
Last month when asked why law enforcement officers in San Diego aren’t currently eligible for the COVID-19 vaccine, Board Chair Nathan Fletcher falsely claimed that state and federal guidelines are to blame.
“We’ve got established guidance from the federal government and the state government, that we have to follow. And that says you have to do healthcare workers and 65 and older, and then you can move into that first tier of essential worker and those first responders are in that first tier.”
However, Darrel Ng, a member of the state’s COVID-19 Task Force told them, “at this point, counties have the discretion in who they are vaccinating. The state provides guidance and the local health officer has the ability to accept/modify at his or her discretion.”
Chula Vista Police Department’s Chief Roxana Kennedy responded to the Supervisor’s decision with dismay. “I was extremely disappointed to watch the supervisors meeting and to hear some of the discussion as if law enforcement was trying to push 65 and older out of the way is really missing the point”, said Kennedy. Multiple counties across California have modified the state guidelines to allow officers to get the vaccine. As of now, law enforcement is included in Phase 1B-Tier 1, which has not been approved for the vaccine at this time.
Due to the fact that local law enforcement officers are routinely called to respond to emergency situations, many involving medical attention and physical contact with others, it would seem logical to have these officers prioritized for vaccination. Police officers are often on the scene before paramedics and EMTs, yet they are the only mentioned profession that is not eligible to be vaccinated.
Although Supervisor Fletcher and the other Democrats on the board may claim that they support law enforcement, their vote this week proves that they do not. This decision leaves officers vulnerable to COVID-19 and puts them directly in harm’s way. If any of San Diego’s finest become infected with COVID-19 and succumb to the virus, it can safely be said that the Democratic Supervisors will have blood on their hands.
Photo by Sarah Blesner/The New York Times via AP, pool