A number of Democratic-led states and cities across the nation have imposed strict vaccine mandates in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In Los Angeles, California, however, it is clear that not everyone is on board with the enforcement of such restrictions.
“The issue has become so politicized”
According to Breitbart, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva announced this week that he would not be mandating the vaccine for his own deputies.
He said that his primary concern was the likelihood of vaccine-hesitant staff members would quit or face termination rather than receive an unwanted inoculation. Such a potential loss of manpower in an already understaffed agency would have been an outcome he could not afford.
A previous video clip emerged recently in which Villanueva responded to questions from county residents, including one regarding whether he would force his deputies and other agency employees to get the shot.
“As I’ve said, no, I’m not forcing anyone,” the sheriff said, according to Breitbart. “The issue has become so politicized.”
He went on to note that “entire groups of employees are willing to be fired and laid off” before accepting a COVID-19 vaccine.
“Not backed by science”
Noting the “barebones” staff along with the “defunding effort” that has impacted the department, Villanueva said that the prospect of losing as much as 10% of the workforce because of a vaccine mandate represents “the worst of two worlds.”
The sheriff has defied prior orders by city and county leaders regarding pandemic restrictions.
In July, he announced that his deputies would not be enforcing an indoor mask mandate imposed by the county. At the time, he declared that the restriction “is not backed by science” and even contradicts guidelines by federal health officials.
“The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health (DPH) has authority to enforce the order, but the underfunded/defunded Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department will not expend our limited resources and instead ask for voluntary compliance,” Villanueva said, according to Deadline. “We encourage the DPH to work collaboratively with the Board of Supervisors and law enforcement to establish mandates that are both achievable and supported by science.”
That has not stopped local leaders from continuing to pass sweeping COVID-19 mandates, including a Los Angeles City Council vote this week to impose arguably the strictest vaccine passport requirements in the country.