- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 19, 2022

A new medical study finds that unvaccinated first responders were more likely to develop COVID-19 and less likely to believe in the effectiveness and safety of vaccines than their vaccinated peers.

The study of 1,415 law enforcement officers, firefighters and other first responders was published Tuesday in JAMA Network Open. It found that 12% of unvaccinated responders said they trust the government regarding COVID-19 vaccines, compared to 45% of the fully vaccinated.

Additionally, 17% of unvaccinated first responders and 54% of the fully vaccinated said they believe COVID-19 vaccines are effective. On the question of whether the vaccines are safe, 15% of unvaccinated responders said no, compared to 54% of vaccinated responders who said yes.

From January to September 2021, the study found that 11.9 out of every 1,000 unvaccinated law enforcement officers caught COVID-19, compared to 0.6 out of every 1,000 vaccinated officers.

Among firefighters, 9 out of every 1,000 who didn’t get vaccinated caught COVID-19 compared to 1.8 out of every 1,000 of the fully vaccinated.

“Given the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines during the public health emergency, governments should consider vaccine mandates with regular testing and alternative work assignments for unvaccinated workers,” the study states.

Seven public health researchers conducted the study of first responders between the ages of 18 to 85 in Arizona, Florida, Minnesota, Oregon, Texas and Utah. Participants did weekly at-home nasal swabs and reported symptoms via text message.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.

• Sean Salai can be reached at ssalai@washingtontimes.com.

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