MIAMI – Vaccine hesitancy remains in law enforcement despite the number of officers who have been lost to COVID-19.
“Not knowing what the impact would be later on, the long term impact of the vaccination. That’s the purpose of my hesitation,” said City of Miami Maj. Albert Guerra.
Guerra got his first shot Thursday at a vaccine drive organized by the Association of Miami-Dade Police Chiefs and the Miami Heat at FTX Arena.
Organizers said that about 10 police officers got their shot at the one-day event. It was a low turnout, but they say if at least one person got vaccinated, it was worth it.
For Guerra, the final push came by way of his father who was seriously ill with COVID.
He spent 18 days in the hospital — at times on a respirator — and survived.
“[I asked him], ‘Would you have taken the vaccine knowing what you know now?’ And he said yeah. So that pretty much changed my mind,” Guerra said.
El Portal Police Chief David Magnusson is a big vaccine advocate.
“More cops have died in the line of duty from COVID than from gunshots and traffic crashes, which are always one and two, combined for the past two years,” he said.
Recently in South Florida we lost five officers in just one week.
Magnusson doesn’t believe in vaccine mandates, but he believes in respectful debate and blames misinformation for the low vaccination rates in law enforcement.
He’s urging officers in South Florida to do their research and verify where it’s coming from.
“We’re supposed to protect and serve,” Magnusson said. “We can’t do either if we’re laid up in quarantine or we’re laid up in a hospital on a respirator.”