NYPD Lags on Vaccines

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July 22, 2021 9:22 a.m.

Interesting and disappointing news that the NYPD uniformed and civilian workforce significantly lags the city’s rate of vaccination. An NYPD spokesperson told the New York Post that 43% of the agency’s workforce has been vaccinated. The city’s rate is 53%. Obviously not all city cops live in New York City. But the vaccination rate in the state overall is even higher – 56%.

The most obvious explanation is that the NYPD leans right and Trumpish right relative to the city population. It would be surprising if rightwing skepticism of vaccines didn’t translate into lower vaccination rates.

But this is also a pretty big failure of leadership on the part of the NYPD brass. Police are first responders. In the nature of their work they routinely interact, often in close quarters, with the population at large. And frequently you don’t have a choice whether to interact with them or the proximity of the contact. Police also routinely act as accessory personnel in medical emergencies. Police aren’t ordinary civilians to whom we give a wide berth to make personal medical decisions. As with health care workers, police officers should be required to be vaccinated, unless there is a real and tangible clinical reason they cannot be.

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