San Francisco Sheriffs Will Quit or Retire if Forced to Be Vaccinated, Police Union Says
Almost half of the US population is fully inoculated against COVID-19, but vaccination rates have slowed due to widespread scepticism. However, the US federal government has left it up to state and local institutions, companies and other establishments to decide whether or not to make the shots compulsory.
The San Francisco Deputy Sheriffs’ Association (SFSO) has warned that the city’s vaccination mandate may force law enforcement agents to retire amid an insufficient number of deputy sheriffs and other first responders, according to an official statement posted on Facebook on Friday.
"The problem we are faced with now is the strict San Francisco Mandate, which is: vaccinate or be terminated. If deputy sheriffs are forced to vaccinate, a percentage of them will retire early or seek employment elsewhere," the organisation says.
The union stressed that a significant number of employees, 160 out 700, have already been vaccinated, while the rest of the deputy sheriffs “prefer to mask and test weekly instead of being vaccinated due to religious and other beliefs”.
"Currently, the staffing at the SFSO is at the lowest it has ever been due to the past 9-month applicant testing restriction placed on the Sheriff's Office by the Mayor,” the post continues. “San Francisco cannot afford to lose any more deputy sheriffs or any first responders. If they retire early or quit this will affect public safety even more.”
SFSO asked city authorities to allow the personnel to comply with California’s rules, that provide the option of getting weekly tests as an alternative to inoculation. Last month San Francisco authorities imposed mandatory inoculation for all of the city's public employees: around 35,000 people.
Amid the latest surge of COVID-19 delta variant in many countries, the US President Joe Biden, speaking last week on further measures against the coronavirus pandemic, didn’t ruled out the possibility of compulsory vaccination nationwide, stressing that local authorities and employers have already the authority to require vaccination certificates.
Many institutions, including public bodies and some of the biggest companies such as Facebook, Google and Netflix, have introduced compulsory vaccination. The US military is also expected to implement mandatory inoculation, according to recent reports.
To date, nearly 194 million people (58 percent of the population) in the US have been vaccinated; almost 166 million have received two vaccine doses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.