By: Oliver Connelly (Loyola Senior)
The majority of Cook County residents are fully vaccinated against COVID-19, however many of Chicago’s police officers are pushing back on the city’s mandate for vaccination.
Cook county has a 67% vaccination rate for citizens 18 and older. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has confirmed that among workers in the public sector, 84% have been fully vaccinated, yet only 64% of police officers who responded to their status.
Mayor Lightfoot implemented an October 15 deadline for public workers to be vaccinated or approved for exemption. City employees must provide information about the type of vaccine they received, as well as a copy of their vaccine card.
“If they are serving the public they should be vaccinated,” said Abby Peterson, Loyola senior.
The decision by Mayor Lightfoot to withhold pay from public workers who do not comply with this mandate was met with some skepticism about the tactic, with emphasis on advanced efforts to dispel disinformation about the vaccine.
“It will only anger them and give them more of a reason to protest.” said Jack McDonnell, Loyola freshman. “If anything she should double down on explaining and educate them on why it is important to take it. I think that choice should be left to the mayor, and if the officers don’t like it they should appeal or quit.”
City officials have stated that there is no requirement to enter personal medical details, only to confirm that workers have taken the vaccine.
“They shouldn’t be able to keep a job if they don’t meet objective requirements.” said Michael Kungl, Loyola junior.
On the topic of private businesses, many who are skeptical of receiving the vaccine call in the question of personal choice at work. However, many recognize the issue as a public health responsibility rather than a matter of choice.
“Those that are unvaccinated pose a risk to others in the community,” said Matt Shack, Loyola Senior. “There is a lot of evidence that the COVID vaccines are safe and effective, so I think employers should be requiring employees to be vaccinated. Private owners have the freedom to manage their own business within reason, and I think a vaccine mandate is well within reason.”