How do we feel about unvaccinated First Responders?
Mad or Nah is an original woman-on-the-street interview series from REVIVE Radio that asks Philadelphians about issues impacting their everyday life. Tamara Russell aka Proof of Consciousness aka P.O.C. hosts and produces a variety of award-winning shows featured on Uptown Radio 98.5FM and Philly’s WHYY/NPR/PBS outlets.
Mad or Nah? First Responders Pass On Getting Vaxxed:
The Philly Inquirer reported this May that 49% (!) of city police and firefighters have not yet been vaccinated, even though they’ve been eligible to receive the shot for months. This information comes from the unions representing both groups, who declined to confirm or even comment on the report. With so many unvaccinated personnel, administrators find themselves in a difficult position, trying to balance health & safety risks with the need to respect personal choice.
The firefighter’s union was quick to point out that the protective gear firefighters wear when doing their job will also prevent the spread of contagions when interacting with the public (theoretically at least). Police officers, however, work closely with the public and with coworkers. A 2020 report found that about half of the department had been infected — and four had died of the virus.
Should Philadelphia officials mandate vaccination for public workers? Maybe offering incentives is a better way to go? SEPTA’s offering to pay employees $100 to step up and get stuck. So far only about a third of SEPTA’s workforce has taken them up on it, although a spokesperson said they were getting from 100 to 300 new forms for the incentive every week. Still, of 230 SEPTA police officers, only 39 have been vaccinated.
How do we feel that nearly half of Philly’s police and firefighters have skipped out on their COVID-19 vaccine, and pose a potential risk to the very citizens they’re bound to serve?
Neighbors sound off! NOTE: Some speakers provide their names & neighborhoods, some don’t. Check out their voices in P.O.C.’s original recorded interviews, transcribed here:
- Yeah, I mean, they think that they’re special and that they’re exceptional. And they also, I don’t know, they’re just not very well informed. So yeah, I would say it’s makes me mad. It’s also not surprising, because they’re not held to the same standards as the general population. — Chris, Fishtown
- I guess we have said they have they’re supposed to get it and they didn’t take it. And they handle working with people and whether they’re injured or not. helping people out of burning buildings. Having people locked up you got to handcuff them. Yeah, it’s very upsetting that they didn’t take it. It doesn’t make no sense. Doesn’t make no sense at all. You know, we’re supposed to be trying to protect one another and help one another. Then why would they do something like that? I mean, to me, that’s a dumb thing to do. Just my personal opinion. They dumb. — Gregorio, Philadelphia
- It doesn’t make me mad because I feel as though you should have the choice to choose whether or not you want to do it. But honestly, these terms that we speak on when we say the city of Philadelphia that’s about colonization as well. So I look at the ankh right in front of me I represent the mores of this land. — Nefertiti, West Philadelphia
- I know I’ll be skipping it because it’s way too new and stuff like that. But they are our first responders and if they don’t take it that tells me something. — Enrique Cruz, North Philly
- Um, I don’t know but I feel like a lot of police and firefighters are right wingers. So they probably just don’t even believe that COVID is real in the first place. — Resident, Fishtown
- I mean, I got vaccinated. So I mean, they should be vaccinated. I mean, but they should quit their jobs. But I mean, they should just not interact with the community. Like that’s all. You don’t want to be vaccinated, don’t interact with the community. — Raina, Cobbs Creek (West Philly)
- It doesn’t make me mad. Um, personally, I’m not taking the vaccine because I’m not sure of the ingredients. And there hasn’t been a complete list of ingredients released to the public. I feel as though it is our right as human beings to make that decision for one another and for ourselves. And so I don’t believe that there should be any mandates on what we put into our bloodstream. And so I 100% stand with people who take on their rights their human rights or God given rights to you know, have anatomy over their body. — Resident, Overbrook (from South Philly)
- No, it doesn’t really make me mad. I’m actually excited that the firefighters and the police are not getting vaccinated. Because as we know I don’t really gotta get vaccinated. First responders who deal with hundreds of people daily. Not tripping over the vaccine. What am I tripping for? So yeah, I’m not even gonna trip. I’m not even gonna get vaccinated. If the police ain’t gotta do it. — Resident, Philadelphia
- Why can’t the mayor just say yo if you don’t want the vaccine, you don’t have to work here anymore. — Resident, Philadelphia
How ‘Bout You?