LAPD employees with 2 COVID-19 shots up to 56% as deadline approaches

The COVID-19 vaccination rate among Los Angeles Police Department employees jumped almost 10% in two weeks once the department actually began checking for vaccination cards, officials said.

The current rate of employees with two COVID-19 vaccine shots is now 56%, said Chief Michel Moore in Tuesday’s Police Commission meeting.

“We validated their answers with an actual vaccine card,” Moore told commissioners. “This is not just asking them to respond to a survey.”

For months, the rate among LAPD employees, both civilian and sworn, was stuck at between 46 and 47% for those with both shots. The rate of employees with one shot was higher, but still remained low compared to the rate for all adults in L.A. County.

Moore noted in previous meetings that LAPD’s overall number of vaccinations presented in weekly meetings would lag behind the true number, because of the way the department asked employees to report their vaccination status.

Last week, a tally of city employees’ vaccine status showed 51% of LAPD was fully vaccinated.

The city’s original vaccine surveys included spaces for employees to decline to state their status. The survey also wasn’t’ mandatory — thousand of employees didn’t respond at all.

Moore said none of those employees would have made it into the department’s actual number of vaccinated, whether they got their shots or not.

The stubbornly low number had led to alarm among police commissioners and city officials.

In August, after reports of thousands of employees still unvaccinated despite having access to the shots for about seven months, the city council voted to require vaccines for employees as a condition of keeping their jobs.

The deadline for getting vaccinated is October 20, though that is still subject to bargaining with the city’s various employee unions. The only exceptions are for religious or medical reasons.

Thousands of LAPD employees submitted religious exemptions this month. Several hundred submitted medical exemptions. Moore said Tuesday the city was still determining how those exemptions would be analyzed. And whatever discipline could result from employees declining to get vaccinated also is not determined yet.

That still means thousands of officers and civilian employees remain unvaccinated, without even one shot protecting them.

More than one quarter of the department’s 12,109 employees have already contracted COVID-19. At least 10 have died; several spouses of LAPD employees have also gotten the virus and died.

Protection for the employees who survived COVID-19, the result of the antibodies left over from being infected, is at the heart of a lawsuit filed last week by six LAPD officers.

In the suit, two of the officers who already had COVID-19 claimed they were more protected from getting the virus again than their vaccinated co-workers. That’s despite studies showing that the level of antibodies among people who have contracted coronavirus can vary widely.

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