No COVID-19 vaccine for officers, deputies in Alameda County as violent crime surges

Officials say there are more than 1,500 officers and deputies who have been busier than ever as violent crime is surging, but none have gotten the vaccine.
ALAMEDA COUNTY, Calif. (KGO) -- Law enforcement unions in Alameda County want answers as to why their officers haven't gotten the COVID-19 vaccine. They say there are more than 1,500 officers and deputies who have been busier than ever as violent crime is surging, but none have gotten the vaccine.

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Oakland police were busy on scene of the latest shooting Thursday night, but none of the officers at the crime scene have received a coronavirus vaccine, and now their union representatives are sounding off.

"They should be vaccinated as was promised more than a month ago from the county, but there has been no movement on that at all," says Barry Donelan, who represents 723 Oakland police officers. At least 62 of them have had COVID-19.

Kevin Lewis represents about 900 Alameda County deputies. More than 90 of them have had coronavirus, including sheriff's deputy Oscar Rocha, who died of the virus.

"We recently came up with a plan for the jail population, which in my understanding is going to start in the near future, but again no plan for the staff that works there," says Lewis.

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Both representatives say law enforcement is being pushed to the limits in Oakland, where there have been 11 homicides so far this year, compared to 1 last year. They argue that the vaccine is needed now.

Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and the county addressed the issue Thursday night in a town hall meeting, saying they are not yet in the 1B tier because of their size, and because of that officers and deputies have not been vaccinated. They do say that their shots are coming soon.

"For now we are saying February. We believe February, when the vaccine supply is here," said an Alameda County Health Department representative.

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