Sumary of Honolulu first responders account for half of city workers seeking COVID-19 vaccine mandate exemptions:
- Police officers, firefighters, paramedics and ocean safety personnel account for 51% of city workers citing their health or religious faith as the reason they will test weekly for COVID-19 rather than comply with the city’s vaccination mandate — mirroring a national trend by first responders.
- There are no vaccination statistics for all of America’s first responders, according to a review this month by The Associated Press, but individual police and fire departments are reporting figures far below the national vaccination rate of 74% of adults who have had at least one dose.
- In Honolulu as of Tuesday, 255 police officers, 101 firefighters, 80 water safety workers and 23 emergency medical technicians and mobile emergency care specialists claimed that religion or a medical issue prevent them from accepting a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the city Department of Human Resources.
- Those 459 workers account for about 12.9% of Oahu’s 3,551 first responders.
- About 78% of police officers, 86% of firefighters and 71% percent of lifeguards and paramedics are vaccinated, according to the city.
- The city is the only government employer in Hawaii that does not allow weekly testing for workers who decline to be vaccinated and are not also exempt for religious or medical reasons.
- Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi, in an interview with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser, said that’s because infection and mortality data revealed that a mandate was the best way to keep people safe and prevent the further spread of the delta variant.
- Honolulu accounts for 76% of the state’s 653 COVID-19 fatalities, and those 500 deaths include two city workers.