‘Hell, No’: Chicago Police Union Opposes Vaccine Mandate for Officers

Chicago mayor Lori Lightfoot, left, speaks after Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a shelter in place order to combat the spread of the Covid-19 virus, during a news conference Friday, March 20, 2020, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Charles Rex Arbogast/AP Photo

The president of Chicago’s Fraternal Order of Police, John Catanzara, has strongly come out against the idea of a vaccine mandate for law enforcement, setting the stage for a possible showdown between officers and Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D).

“We are 100% against mandated vaccines for our members,” Catanzara said in a statement to FOX32. In separate remarks to the Chicago Sun Times, Catanzara stated, “This vaccine has no studies for long-term side effects or consequences. None. To mandate anybody to get that vaccine, without that data as a baseline, amongst other issues, is a ‘Hell, no’ for us.”

Lightfoot told reporters during a press conference Monday that she is in favor of a vaccine mandate for city workers.

“City employees are absolutely going to be required to be vaccinated,” Lightfoot stated. “We’re working through those discussions which have been ongoing now for a couple weeks with our colleagues in organized labor that represent city employees.”

“But we absolutely have to have a vaccine mandate,” the mayor added. “It’s for the safety of all involved, particularly members of the public who are interacting with city employees on a daily basis. It’s important for colleagues to also feel like they have a workplace that’s safe. So a vaccine mandate from the city will come, and we’ll make specific announcements in the coming days.”

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) recently directed school children to wear masks as part of an effort to prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

The Democratic governor also said he will require all state employees who work in highly populated facilities such as prisons to be vaccinated.

With the potentially deadly virus continuing to spread, worsened by the more virulent delta variant, Pritzker urged residents who have not been vaccinated to get the shots necessary to prevent the illness and its spread.

“Every time we think we know where this virus is headed, it changes, and it shifts…,” Pritzker said in Chicago. “I want to say this, specifically to young adults: Please do not think that the worst-case scenario can’t happen to you. It can happen. It is happening. Get vaccinated.”

The required vaccination for state employees applies to those who work in prisons and juvenile detention facilities, veterans’ homes and state facilities for the mentally and developmentally disabled. Each must be fully vaccinated by October 4.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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