Protesters rally against vaccine mandate for local cops, firefighters

Coronavirus

SAN DIEGO — Hundreds of protesters gathered with firefighters and police officers who oppose the city’s vaccine mandate for first responders Friday, saying they would quit their jobs rather than get the shot.

“These officers want to stay with this great police department to continue to protect and serve you, but they can only do so with your help. So, I ask you: please rise up, use your voice and stand with these officers,” San Diego Police Sgt. Matt Randolph said at the event.

Encinitas has also mandated that first responders receive the vaccine, but some firefighters are refusing.

“I’m going to walk; I’m not getting the vaccine. No way, this is a decision I sit down with my family, and we made this decision as a group. My family doesn’t want to get vaccinated, and we believe in that,” said Jim Mickelson, a battalion chief from Encinitas Fire Department.

The crowd of people was calling on the mayor of San Diego to rescind the mandate or at least push back the deadline from Dec. 1. Mayor Todd Gloria released this statement regarding the protest:

“We continue to meet and confer with our recognized employee organizations on how to manage our unvaccinated employees. The City has a responsibility to protect our employees and the members of the public with whom they regularly interact. The health and welfare of the public and our employees outweigh any temporary staffing issues. Vaccines are safe, effective, free and widely available. I applaud the more than 80% of San Diego County residents who have been vaccinated to date and encourage everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated so we can end this pandemic.”

More information about vaccine safety is available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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