With states around the country imposing mandates, more and more first responders refuse to take the COVID-19 vaccine. Recently, firefighters and police officers in Charlotte, North Carolina, told the city that they "stand united" in opposition to a mandate.
The firefighters and police officers are represented by three separate organizations that sent a letter to city leaders against mandatory vaccinations.
A letter from the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Fraternal Order of Police, Charlotte Firefighters Association, and the Charlotte chapter of the UE150 public service workers union went to Mayor Vi Lyles and City Manager Marcus Jones.
The letter said, "Combined, our organizations represent, and speak for, thousands of workers in this city who rely on our advocacy. We understand how COVID has impacted Charlotte but believe all medical decisions shall be an individual choice.”
While the groups are pro-vaccine, they firmly believe that the decision on whether or not to be vaccinated should only be between an employee and their medical provider.
“Governmental agencies that impose mandates that go against individual beliefs and rights are dangerous and should not be permitted. Your employees have courageously fought through this pandemic and should not be faced with an uncertain future because of a vaccination mandate. “Letter to City Officials
The organizations sent the letter to the city a couple of days after the results from a city employee survey about vaccine status were released. The Charlotte Fire Department has the lowest vaccination rate of city employees at 49%.
The Charlotte-Mecklenburg police department has 63% of their 2,407 employees vaccinated. Both police Chief Johnny Jennings and fire Chief Reginald Johnson are vaccinated, though Jennings got COVID last year and fully recovered.
According to Robert Tufano, the CMPD spokesman, "Employees are expected to follow the recently issued mask mandates. They are provided the necessary PPE, and the CMPD will continue to follow all health guidelines."
According to the city incentive program, all city employees who are 100% vaccinated by September 30 will receive $250. Those who have gotten their first shot will still get their reward as long as they get their second by November 19th.
If city employees reach 75% vaccination by September 30th, each vaccinated employee will get another $250. But 1,100 more employees need to get vaccinated. So far, they have not released what will happen to those who will not get vaccinated. Hopefully, the city will listen to the organizations and not impose a mandate.