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This week, hundreds of firefighters in Los Angeles filed a notice of intent to sue the city over its vaccine mandate, saying an Oct. 20 deadline to get vaccinated is “extreme and outrageous.”

Los Angeles County sheriff, Alex Villanueva, said he would not enforce the vaccine mandate at his department, which employs some 18,000 people.

Since the pandemic began, the Los Angeles Police Department has had 37 outbreaks that included 1,061 cases, and the Los Angeles Fire Department has had 75 outbreaks and 553 cases. In other words, the places of greatest resistance are COVID-19 hot spots.

The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund recently released a report that found the leading cause of officers’ deaths nationwide last year and in the first six months of 2021 was COVID-19.

An investigation by the Los Angeles Times into more than 2,500 coronavirus cases within public safety agencies in L.A. County found that more than half were from the L.A. police and fire departments. Since then, it’s been revealed that vaccination rates among employees at LAPD and LAFD are well behind county residents.

“For police officers, firefighters, just like nurses and doctors, we have an even higher responsibility than anybody else in the public since we do come into contact with so many people in the public and they rely on us,” said Dr. Thomas Yadegar, Medical Director of the Intensive Care Unit at Providence Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

What is it with cops and firemen that they don’t want to get vaccinated?

My wife says she has belonephobia.

bel·o·ne·pho·bi·a. (bĕl′ə-nə-fō′bē-ə) n. An abnormal fear of sharply pointed objects, especially needles.

But when we were offered the opportunity to get Covid shots last February, she was as eager as I was. And then, last week, we both got booster shots. We had slightly sore arms from the shots, but otherwise, no reactions.

Is that what the cops and firemen are worried about? Reactions? Or are they suffering from belonephobia?

Or is it something else…like right wing distrust of government? And the oft-stated trope from right wingnuts that “I will decide what happens to my body,” even if that threatens others including their family, their friends, and everybody else they come in contact with?

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Jonathan MS Pearce

A TIPPLING PHILOSOPHER Jonathan MS Pearce is a philosopher, author, columnist, and public speaker with an interest in writing about almost anything, from skepticism to science, politics, and morality,...