Despite COVID-19 being the No. 1 cause of death for police officers in America, police vaccination programs are struggling to get officers on board, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
There have been 622 COVID-19 related deaths in the U.S. since the start of the pandemic, more than one per day, according to the National Fraternal Order of Police.
"The low response from members of our agency on their willingness to take the COVID vaccine — this is not acceptable and their reasons are not based on fact, not based on medical science and based on uncertainty," Palm Beach County Sheriff Ric Bradshaw says in a video to encourage vaccination, the Sun-Sentinel reported.
"Everyone needs to get involved. It's for your benefit. It's for the benefit of the people of Palm Beach County because we need you on the road and in the jails."
Florida has lost 56 officers to COVID-19, the same total as the largest state in the U.S., California. Only Texas has lost more (143), according to the report.
A poll of the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office showed 59% of the staff were vaccinated, which lags the 71% of all Palm Beach County residents 12 years old and up, according to the Florida Department of Health.
The Dade County discrepancy is even larger, according to the report: 52% of Miami-Dade Police Department staff are vaccinated, compared to 86% of county residents 12 and older.
"Please let's all get vaccinated," Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo tweeted, showing the condolence letters he was sending to family members of the staff's COVID-19 victims.
Past Acevedo tweets called the vaccine "biologic body armor," told the paper, "if people can play politics, I'm going to play the odds."
"Police officers can be skeptical, and that skepticism can sometimes bite us," he told the Sun-Sentinel. "Look at the skeptics who have been dying across the country. If it's good enough for President Trump and President Biden."
"As police officers we should make evidence-based decisions, and I like to look at statistics and look at odds."
A common argument that many vaccinated people are still contracting COVID-19 was countered recently by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
"There is evidence that vaccination may make illness less severe for those who are vaccinated and still get sick," the CDC wrote in a statement. "The risk of infection, hospitalization, and death are all much lower in vaccinated compared with unvaccinated people."
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