CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) – Law enforcement agencies are part of the first level of the current phase of immunization in Iowa.
Linn County Sheriff Brian Gardner said his department had yet to start vaccinating employees, he also said less than half of them were interested in getting it.
Gardner said he doesn’t necessarily consider this percentage low, but rather average compared to other law enforcement or corrections officers. However, he is lower than he hoped for.
Gardner said he interviewed staff to see who would be ready and willing to be vaccinated and also provided information to state and county public health departments on how to get vaccinated. He said they won’t force employees to be vaccinated, but hopes that as they get more information about the distribution, more employees will come in for the vaccine.
As to why less than 50% of the employees surveyed want to be vaccinated, it is not sure.
“I think at least for me and my family it seems like the right thing to do. There may be legitimate reasons why some of our employees are not receiving the vaccine. And conversely, I know that some of my staff have already received the vaccine. They were able to get it elsewhere rather than through the channels here at the sheriff’s office, ”Gardner said. “I encourage anyone who wants to get it to get it. I provided them with so much factual information so that they could make an informed decision.
Gardner said the prison nurses are pre-approved to distribute the vaccine, but because the vaccine expected by public health requires very cold storage, they will not be able to store it internally or in prison. For this reason, they will be vaccinated at local hospitals.
Once, and if, they are given a vaccine that can be stored on site, the prison nurses can distribute injections to inmates and correctional center staff.
Gardner said he thinks it is important that staff receive the vaccine because it will be the fastest way to get back to normal.
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