While many different employers, businesses, and government sectors have required their employees to be fully vaccinated, some are still second-guessing the idea. Strangely, one of these organizations is the Vancouver Police Department.
First responders and similar organizations in British Columbia are establishing a vaccine mandate, following orders by B.C. Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry. Health-care workers and paramedics had to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 26, staff of the RCMP by Oct. 29, and Vancouver Fire Rescue Services members must be by Dec. 6.
However, the Vancouver Police Department still does not require vaccinations for their staff, even though they require regular testing. In a later statement, the VPD said that they are working on their policy, and more information will be released in the upcoming weeks.
Like many other police forces in Canada and the U.S. the Vancouver police should make vaccines mandatory for their staff, especially those working as frontliners in this pandemic. Some may work on their desks inside the department, but many are assigned for fieldwork and are dispatched in different places, making them more likely to contact a variety of people.
This should be an obvious thing to do for a public service that protects people’s health and safety. In the best interest and safety of the general public, mandating vaccinations in a line of work where officials are exposed to hundreds of people is the right thing to do. Our local police force shouldn’t leave it up to chance whether or not its members could spread COVID-19, nor should they ignore the severity of COVID-19 variants or accept that its members can risk their own safety and wellbeing.
Getting tested can be a second-line of assessment, but it should not be made as a sole alternative to vaccinations because it only serves as a short-term solution to a long-term problem. Work alternatives such as a hybrid format of office work should be specified as well for those who cannot take vaccines due to health risks.
They respond to emergencies and encounter people of all ages like elders who are more susceptible to contracting the disease. Not only that, but the police themselves are the ones responsible for enforcing other vaccine mandates. It’s hypocritical to expect unvaccinated people to be responsible for issuing tickets to people or businesses that don’t comply with their own vaccine mandate.
We need to have every ounce of protection we can since people might not be aware they are spreading COVID-19.
The observance of health protocols and immunization efforts can and should work hand-in-hand. Mandating vaccines would not only help ensure our first responders’ safety, but also the safety of the communities they are serving.
Ensuring that our workforce and the vast majority of most of our population can safely go back to work will help our country bounce back from the pandemic economically, and mandating vaccines is the fastest way of doing it.