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Are local cops getting vaccinated? It depends on the police department

Original post made on May 27, 2021

Police departments throughout Santa Clara and San Mateo counties are encouraging officers to get vaccinated, but the results vary widely from one department to the next. Others don't bother tracking vaccination rates.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, May 27, 2021, 9:59 AM

Comments (16)

Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Central Menlo Park
on May 27, 2021 at 10:26 am

Observer is a registered user.

It should be a national requirement that every law officer, fireperson, EMT, healthcare worker be vaccinated. And those vaccination rates should be disclosed.

Posted by Atherton Resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 27, 2021 at 12:21 pm

Atherton Resident is a registered user.

Observer- You are way off base. Why is it your business if a person has been vaccinated? Why is necessary for me to disclose to you my medical history? Have you heard of HIPPA? If you want to be vaccinated that is fine, and none of that is my business. My body, my health. Covid is under control, move on to other diseases to defeat like heart disease, cancer, strokes, Alzheimer's,.....

Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 27, 2021 at 12:56 pm

Observer is a registered user.

Police officers who don't want the vaccine should not be interacting with the public. They present a health hazard and could be a vector for Covid.

Posted by lawman
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 27, 2021 at 1:02 pm

lawman is a registered user.

"Menlo Park is one of two Midpeninsula agencies that doesn't track whether officers have gotten the vaccine … Nicole Acker, a spokeswoman for the Menlo Park Police Department, said the city isn't tracking vaccination rates among officers so long as it remains voluntary."

This is outrageous as it puts many citizens at risk. At the very least, there should be transparency. Menlo Park—indeed San Mateo Couty— should follow the lead of Santa Clara County in providing transparency and accountability by amending their health orders:

"Police departments in Santa Clara County will soon be required to track vaccination rates among employees, broadening public knowledge of which law enforcement agencies are successfully immunizing their officers. Under a May 18 county health order, businesses and government entities must determine which employees are vaccinated by June 1, and staff who are not fully vaccinated must wear face masks and follow COVID-19 public health protocols.”

@Atherton Resident You, presumably, are a private citizen not entrusted with governmental policing functions. If you are privately employed, your employer may require you to be immunized as a condition to returning to work where you interact physically with others. You may have heard of HIPAA but one might infer from your misspelling of it that you are not familiar with its provisions. It is well known that HIPAA does not preclude ascertaining ones COVID vaccination status. Google it!

Posted by MPCSD resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 27, 2021 at 3:52 pm

MPCSD resident is a registered user.

@ Atherton Resident, your statement "my body, my health" isn't that straightforward when what you do with your body may put others at risk. Just as you can no longer smoke indoors in public places because the smoke is toxic to others, if you're interacting with others in close proximity, your simple act of breathing can be toxic to others if you have Covid.

When it comes to highly contagious diseases, the states certainly have the authority to mandate vaccinations if they choose to. So far, they have focused on children. "All 50 states, as well as the District of Columbia, currently have laws requiring specified vaccines for students. This requirement is generally subject to certain exemptions, which vary from state to state. While all student immunization laws grant exemptions to children for medical reasons (e.g., if a child is allergic to vaccines or immunocompromised), most but not all states grant religious exemptions for those whose beliefs counsel against immunization. Sixteen states also provide a broader philosophical exemption for those who object to immunizations because of personal, moral, or other beliefs"

Bottom line, I believe public facing government employees should be required to be vaccinated. If they choose not to, they should be moved to a position where they're not interacting with and endangering others.

Posted by margomca
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 27, 2021 at 4:31 pm

margomca is a registered user.

A person's right to remain unvaccinated is sacrosanct. BUT my right to not interact with said person is also sacrosanct. If I am stopped by a peace officer, I am denied that choice. His/her decision not to be vaccinated intrudes on my right for a safe environment. So the officer can make that choice, but he/she should not be out interacting with the public. MPPD has the responsibility to the community not only to encourage vaccination and keep records, but also ensure the public safety by not sending unvaccinated officers out for duty. If I ask an officer who has stopped me about vaccination status, I have the right for an answer. Masks are fine, but is the officer going to keep me at a distance of 6 feet? I don't think so.

The more important issue is when does person A's right to make free personal decisions impinge on my rights for a safe environment. I think we've answered that questions with respect to smoking. Your right to smoke ends at the tip of my nose. It's definitely a conundrum.

Posted by Scott
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 27, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Scott is a registered user.

It would be such low hanging fruit for the City of Menlo Park to require vaccines or a positive antibody test from all public facing employees. It would clearly signal that the health of all city residents is important to city leadership and staff. Not to even track vaccination status seems a bit short sighted - you don't know if you have a problem. Does anyone know if there was a response from city hall? If an unvaccinated employee gets long covid, who pays for their disability?

Posted by pogo
a resident of Woodside: other
on May 28, 2021 at 7:46 am

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I am "pro" vaccination because it has been proved very safe and very effective.

That said, those who think an unvaccinated person is somehow putting others at risk are way off base and their "belief" is unsupported by the science (and aren't we supposed to believe in science?).

First, if an unvaccinated person has had the virus - and somewhere between 35 and 100 million people in the USA have had COVID! - then while vaccines are recommended, the data say that their likelihood of reinfection is remarkably similar to a vaccinated person. A vaccinated person represents a similar risk to someone who has had the virus - not zero but extremely low.

When you consider the number of people that have had the virus or have had at least one dose of vaccine, your risk from "a stranger" is exceedingly low, especially here in well immunized Northern California. Note the exceptionally low rates of hospitalizations and deaths today. The worst is over.

The other side of the equation is equally important. If you've been vaccinated, you have very little to worry about. The chance of "breakthrough infection" is very low for those who have been vaccinated or have had the virus.

So stop the sky-is-falling scenarios that we're in horrific danger from the unvaccinated. You are not. Follow the science. Relax.

Posted by Atherton Resident
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 28, 2021 at 8:18 am

Atherton Resident is a registered user.

Observer- If you do not want to interact with a non vaccinated EMT, Police officer or Fireman specify when you are calling in your emergency your preference. Stop with we are all doom and hysteria. The vaccine works . We locked down, got 3 vaccines that work and the drama is over. If its good enough for the governor and mayors to eat with friends in close proximity we can let people keep their medical information private.

Posted by mvheim
a resident of Menlo Park: South of Seminary/Vintage Oaks
on May 28, 2021 at 1:11 pm

mvheim is a registered user.

I am rather shocked that the city is not tracking the vaccination status of officers. I agree with the person who stated that all public safety employees should be required to be vaccinated. Consider, citizens do not usually get the choice whether or not to interact with these officers. Can you imagine a cop's reaction to a citizen who asked them to "kindly step back and observe social distancing"? These officers are paid to serve the public by protecting public safety — if they aren't willing to take simple steps to protect the public during a pandemic, they shouldn't be on the public payroll. Period.

Posted by Observer
a resident of Menlo Park: Linfield Oaks
on May 28, 2021 at 1:14 pm

Observer is a registered user.

I am sad to see the level of selfishness in this community.

I'm fully vaccinated, and even my kids now have gotten their shots. We're all good at my house. But I do know quite a few people of all ages, kids too, with immune and other medical issues who cannot get the vaccine. (This isn't just the case for covid -- they're not vaccinated against diphtheria either -- but that's not a day-to-day problem).

If a private citizen refuses to get vaccinated, that's your prerogative. I hope you wear a mask when you interact with others, though I know you won't. But the job of the police is to protect, not infect. Anyone in the public sector who refuses the vaccine should not continue in a public-facing role.

Posted by lawman
a resident of Menlo Park: Allied Arts/Stanford Park
on May 28, 2021 at 1:18 pm

lawman is a registered user.

@Atherton Resident wrote "If you do not want to interact with a non vaccinated EMT, Police officer or Fireman specify when you are calling in your emergency your preference."

Umm, what good would that do? No one is even keeping track of which first responders are vaccinated, let alone having vaccinated and/or nonvaccinated teams. smh

Posted by acomfort
a resident of Menlo Park: Suburban Park/Lorelei Manor/Flood Park Triangle
on May 28, 2021 at 3:13 pm

acomfort is a registered user.

I missed seeing the clinical trial or trials that showed that the vaccinated are less likely to spread or get the virus than the unvaccinated. I hope someone will point me to a clinical trial that proves that the a vaccinated person cannot spread or get the virus.
If there was none, then the answer is whatever the experts say.
That is good enough for most of us.

Posted by Menlo Voter.
a resident of Menlo Park: other
on May 29, 2021 at 8:07 am

Menlo Voter. is a registered user.


Then you haven't looked very hard.

Web Link

Posted by Thoughtful
a resident of Atherton: other
on May 29, 2021 at 5:17 pm

Thoughtful is a registered user.

Is there a simple solution here that addresses public perceptions of safety as well as any person's decision (including a police officer's) to get or not to get vaccinated?

1. Keep track of vaccinated officers.

2. Officers who have chosen not to get vaccinated should be required to wear masks when interacting with the public.

3. Citizens who have similarly chosen not to get vaccinated would be advised also to wear masks when interacting with the police (or anyone), but that is up to the citizen.

People are also not looking at the flip side of the coin. A vaccinated (or non-vaccinated) officer has to interact with members of the public who are not necessarily vaccinated. But, that is his or her job.

Posted by MPCSD resident
a resident of Atherton: West Atherton
on May 29, 2021 at 6:20 pm

MPCSD resident is a registered user.

@ Thoughtful - good, straight-forward suggestions!

Scott above actually addressed the "flip side" in his last sentence by asking an excellent question:

"If an unvaccinated employee gets long covid, who pays for their disability?"

The police are public employees. Our taxes are used to pay them so they can protect us. A portion of those taxes go towards paying for medical insurance for public employees. If they get sick at higher rates because they're not choosing to get vaccinated, I imagine the cost of insurance will increase at the next renewal and we as tax payers will in essence be paying for the increase.

As now stated by many, for multiple reasons Menlo Park really should track public facing officer's vaccination status, require all officers in public facing roles to get vaccinated, or wear a mask, or take a position in a non public facing role.

As per multiple studies, the chance of contracting Covid for those who ARE vaccinated is .01%. That's 1 in 10,000. I believe Menlo Park has about 35,000 residents. That means IF virtually all our residents were vaccinated 3 or 4 of us could potentially statistically get sick from an unvaccinated police officer. The odds of getting hospitalized or worse are even lower BUT the long-term effects of even a mild case of Covid are unclear. And, our 0-11 year olds and immunocompromised citizens aren't vaccinated. Our officers who are meant to serve and protect shouldn't be putting the community at any increased risk, even if its an extremely small risk.

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