Vaccine mandates are still opposed by police unions in New Jersey, despite the fact that 22 officers died from COVID last week.
COVID-19 killed 22 police officers in New Jersey this week, while police unions across the state continue to oppose vaccine regulations.
During a weekly briefing on Monday, New Jersey State Police Superintendent Pat Callahan claimed that last week witnessed the most officer deaths in a single week in years. In total, 23 policemen died, with 22 of them dying as a result of the infection.
While he does not know the vaccination status of the policemen who died, he believes vaccine apprehension played a factor in their deaths.
“I believe the refusal to get vaccinated has played a role,” he stated. “I’m not sure I could come to any other conclusion.”
Despite an increase in COVID-19 cases in New Jersey, police unions have shown opposition to local vaccine mandates. According to the New Jersey Monitor, police unions in Newark and Wayne, both in the state’s northern reaches, have filed legal challenges to the mandates.
When the Monitor contacted John Barrows, president of the Wayne chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police, he declined to comment on the number of officer-related deaths, citing the pending legal struggle, according to the newspaper.
According to the Monitor, the city of Newark was obligated to discuss elements of the vaccine mandate with unions, who contended that it would violate the state’s Employer-Employee Relations Act. The resistance, according to Newark Fraternal Order of Police President James Stewart Jr., has nothing to do with vaccines themselves, but rather with job conditions.
“This is a matter of job terms and circumstances. “It has nothing to do with the benefits and drawbacks of vaccines,” he explained. “We need to sit on the opposite side of the table. We need to have serious discussions and try to reach an agreement in order to go forward.”
On September 8, both police and firefighter unions protested Newark Mayor Ras Baraka’s edict ordering city employees to acquire the vaccine within 30 days after he issued it in August.
At the protest, International Association of Firefighters General President Edward Kelly said, “This isn’t about vaccinations; this is about being bullied, and we’re not going to be bullied.”
New Jersey has a higher vaccination rate than the rest of the country, with 64.5 percent of the population fully immunized. Nonetheless, the number of instances has risen. This is a condensed version of the information.