Across the Yellow Tape host, Royce Chandler, takes a moment to discuss vaccinations and share shocking statistics related to police and Covid-19.
Royce Chandler: [00:00:07] Hello, Across the Yellow Tape, listeners, this is Royce Chandler, speaking and for this episode, we have a prompt but very important topic to discuss about vaccinations. As a reminder here on the podcast, our goal is to facilitate a discussion about policing and police reform. And I know what you’re thinking, Royce, how on earth is vaccination relevant to policing or police reform? Well, stick with me for the next few minutes and I will make the case for the importance of police vaccinations against COVID-19.
Royce Chandler: [00:00:34] It’s been well over a year now, and at this time in the US, we have had over thirty one million cases of COVID and lost upwards to five hundred and sixty thousand fellow Americans. 2020 was one of the deadliest years for police in decades, marking a 96 percent increase in active duty police fatalities from 2019, and this is despite a decrease in firearm related fatalities. In fact, for 2020 COVID-19 fatalities was the number one cause of active duty police deaths more than any other cause combined. Right around the time the vaccines became available, a Police-1 driven survey with a total of 3300 responders showed that only 38 percent of officers were willing to get the vaccine. Comparatively, a separate survey showed us adults were more willing to get the vaccine than police, with over 60 percent of individuals indicating a willingness to be vaccinated. Here in Chicago, over fifteen hundred officers tested positive for COVID and 2020, which included four active duty officers who died as a result. So by these numbers, 1 in every 375 Chicago police officers who caught the virus died. With all that said, Chicago police aren’t mandated to take the vaccine, which means it’s important for them to understand the risks that they face, and it’s also important for us to listen to their concerns about the vaccines. Referring back to the previously mentioned survey, 58 percent of the officers indicated that their primary concern was potential adverse effects from taking a vaccine developed in a short amount of time.
Royce Chandler: [00:01:59] So, in light of these concerns, I would discuss how the three major vaccines work and by no means am I expert; however, my formal education, combined with the information provided by the CDC and various vaccine manufacturers, have equip me with the knowledge to reassure officers about this topic. So first, COVID-19, like other coronaviruses, is distinguishable by the spikes on their surface caused by proteins. At this time, there are three vaccines in the US. Of note, two vaccines that are currently available are PFizer and Moderna vaccines which are both mRNA vaccines. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine, which is the one currently paused, is a vector vaccine. Although mRNA vaccines are relatively new, they are backed by decades worth of research to determine their safety.
Royce Chandler: [00:02:42] They work by enveloping mRNA, which is just short for messenger RNA, with the spike protein on the surface of COVID. And this instructs our cells how to make the protein. So, the mRNA vaccine that Pfizer and Moderna have developed teaches your cells to replicate the same spike protein found in COVID – without ever introducing the actual infectious virus. For the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, this is a vector vaccine which uses a vector virus that utilizes your cell’s machinery to create copies of the spike protein. For both vaccines, when our immune system kicks in to identify foreign proteins, it begins to produce antibodies and activate immune cells to fight off what it interprets as infection. So the common side effects that we experience following a vaccine dose is a result of our immune system doing its job. These effects include mild fevers, headaches, chills and pain at the injection site.
Royce Chandler: [00:03:29] So the big question that’s on everybody’s mind, what’s going on with Johnson & Johnson vaccine and why has it been put on pause? Well, unlike the other two vaccines, at the time of this podcast recording, there has been nine reports of very rare and severe blood clots within 13 days of vaccination. Now, the incidence of this rare blood clot falls somewhere between one in two hundred thousand to one in five hundred thousand per year. And with the seven million people that have already taken the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, the current incident of this rare blood clot was right below this average at one in seven hundred and seventy seven thousand. So, in addition to the seven million vaccinated through Johnson and Johnson, one hundred eighty million people have received Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. And the results speak for themselves our weekly deaths have trended down and we have seen a seventy nine point two percent decrease compared to our January 13, 2021 peak. In addition, COVID-19 hospitalizations have decreased by 67.7% from mid-January to April 16, 2021 one when it comes down to vaccines. Rest assured that the science is not new. We’ve known for decades how this stuff works, but now we have the technology and the resources to bring these lifesaving preventative measures to the public. Vaccines are the most powerful tool in our arsenal in our quickest way back to normalcy. If you’re an officer who still have doubts about taking the vaccine, I just ask that you reflect on the risks to your family in the public face. 2020 was a year we will never forget for the wrong reasons. Let’s beat this thing and make 2021, a year we won’t forget for the right reasons.