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NYPD Chief in COVID Plea With 1/3 Force Still Unvaccinated, 8 in Hospital

Newsweek logo Newsweek 9/26/2021 Anders Anglesey
NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020 in New York City. On Wednesday, Shea said police officers had issued summonses to several individuals after thousands gathered at a funeral marking the passing of a prominent rabbi in Brooklyn. The gathering was held in spite of the city's decision to ban public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic. © Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea speaks to the media during a press conference at City Hall on January 3, 2020 in New York City. On Wednesday, Shea said police officers had issued summonses to several individuals after thousands gathered at a funeral marking the passing of a prominent rabbi in Brooklyn. The gathering was held in spite of the city's decision to ban public gatherings due to the coronavirus pandemic.

New York Police Department (NYPD) Commissioner Dermot Shea has issued a plea for unvaccinated officers to get jabbed against COVID after eight were taken to hospital with the virus.

Shea shared an impassioned plea with his officers to get vaccinated with about one-third still not having taken up the offer.

CNN Newsroom correspondent Alison Kosik explained on Saturday there was significant vaccine hesitancy among officers, with 62 percent having had at least one dose.

This stands in contrast to New York state, where 70.6 percent of the population has received at least one dose and 63.1 percent are fully vaccinated against COVID.

A clip, obtained by CNN, showed Commissioner Shea talking about officers who were hospitalized with COVID and explained more about their current situation.

In the clip shared on Thursday, Commissioner Shea said: "Why do I keep coming back to you on this? I'll tell you why, because I'm talking to family members, I'm talking to union representatives of multiple ranks, I'm talking to you and your partners when it's too late when you're in the hospital or when you're driving to the hospital and you're having difficulty breathing.

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"Right now we have eight members of the NYPD in this hospital. All eight, unvaccinated. Serious condition, some intubated, some perfectly healthy - one 23 years old. One person hadn't got sick in 10 years and we recently lost him."

Commissioner Shea also said some 225 of 28,000 vaccinated officers had later tested positive for COVID, which he said showed its effectiveness.

In the clip, shared by NBC New York, he continued: "That's how you can make a difference right now, if you wait, it could be too late. Think about a 23-year-old perfectly healthy. And now fighting, fighting for his life.

"Spread the word and make sure that we are doing everything possible to keep each and every one of ourselves safe from this terrible virus."

Newsweek has contacted the NYPD for comment.

Police unions have pushed back against vaccine mandates that have been introduced across the states recently.

The Massachusetts State Police hit back against Governor Charlie Baker's requirement that all officers get vaccinated against COVID and demand those injured or killed either injured or killed from the virus receive additional financial compensation.

The CDC has said the "United States currently has the safest vaccine supply in its history."

It added: "The nation's long-standing vaccine safety system ensures that vaccines are as safe as possible."

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