Letters to the Editor: Fire the first responders who refuse COVID-19 vaccination

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LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 24: De An Qu, 81, receives the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from LA City Firefighter Paramedic Andrew Huang as the LA City CORE mobile team is staging a COVID-19 vaccination clinic in Chinatown for senior citizens, in an attempt to improve access to the vaccine among vulnerable populations. Chinatown on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Al Seib / Los Angeles Times).
A Los Angeles firefighter administers a COVID-19 vaccine dose at a clinic in Chinatown on Feb. 24. (Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: So a large fraction of our police and firefighters don't want to listen to health officials or pay attention to the reams of data showing that the COVID-19 vaccines work. They're not responding to prizes and other positive incentives for getting the vaccinations.

Well then, it's time for negative incentives: Get the shots or you're fired.

I mean, can you even imagine the lawsuit when a first responder gives life-saving CPR to someone, and instead transmits life-taking coronavirus? Or fails to administer CPR for fear of doing same?

It's time to stop coddling the know-nothings. Our lives depend on it.

Carl Matthies, Pasadena

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To the editor: It is appalling that only about 51% of city firefighters and 52% of Los Angeles Police Department officers are at least partially vaccinated.

These people interact constantly with members of the public, and refusing vaccination puts them, their families and the people they serve in danger. Full vaccination should immediately be made a job requirement, just as hepatitis and tetanus vaccines are required.

Betsy Handler, Pacific Palisades

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To the editor: The low vaccination rates among police officers, firefighters and other first responders raise troubling questions. When education, physical strength, training and competence are all standard requirements for any first responder's employment, how can it be OK for them to refuse a vaccine that will keep the public they serve safer?

Maybe that question is better answered by others with more knowledge of the employee protections afforded by unions. Maybe the unions are the problem.

As a citizen, I want to know that the first responder that I come in contact with is vaccinated. As a citizen and a consumer who is paying for emergency services, I have that right.

Barbara Parker, Laguna Hills

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.