Just 39% of Detroit cops have Covid shots, a personal choice despite public contact

June 14, 2021, 12:50 PM

Detroit police are among Covid vaccine avoiders.

"According to the City Health Department's self-reported figures, 39 percent of Detroit police are vaccinated," Bryce Huffman posts Monday at Bridge Detroit. That's slightly above the 36-percent level citywide, he adds. But it's far below the 60% statewide share of those over 16 who have at least one dose.

Members of the force have had access to shots since December. 

Detroit Police special response unit last year (Photo: Twitter/Branden Hunter)

The department doesn't require pandemic vaccines, a deputy chief tells Huffman:

"It's a choice," [Todd] Bettison said. "In the United States of America — whether you're police or not — you still don't give up your constitutional rights, your health rights." ...

Bettison doesn't believe vaccine hesitancy is unique to police. He also doesn't see a problem in police officers' vaccine rates being different from that of 'the general population.'"

As for a supposed legal right for certain employees to stay unvaccinated, a federal judge in Texas just ruled that a Houston hospital can mandate Covid inoculations for its staff.

"Methodist [Hospital] is trying to do their business of saving lives without giving them the Covid-19 virus. It is a choice made to keep staff, patients and their families safer," District Judge Lynn Hughes says in a weekend opinion covered by The New York Times. The hospital last week suspended 178 employees who balked at a shot. Termination proceedings are thretened if they're not vaccinated by next Monday.

Police resistance to Covid protection jeopardizes colleagues and citizens, health specialists warn. Law enforcement vaccination hesitation or resistance nationwide show "a troubling picture of policing and public health," according to The Washington Post:

Because officers have high rates of diabetes, heart disease and other conditions, their hesitancy puts them at greater risk of serious illness from the coronavirus while also undermining force readiness, experts said. ...

Of more than 40 major metropolitan police departments contacted by The Post, none had made vaccination compulsory for employees. That reflects a belief among officers — and their unions — that getting a shot is a private decision.

Read more:  Bridge Detroit

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