Some Los Angeles first responders reluctant to get COVID-19 vaccine

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As first responders are getting the first doses of the vaccine, some within the LAPD and L.A. City Fire ranks are hesitant to get vaccinated.

LAPD Chief Michel Moore recently announced the results of a survey that included more than 9,000 members of his department. The survey results indicate that more than 60% of the department want to get vaccinated - which means a large number are hesitant.

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We spoke with an infectious disease specialist at Cedars Sinai Medical Center to answer some frequently asked questions related to the vaccine.

"We're beginning an information campaign now to talk about the safety of this vaccine, its desirability, the seriousness of this virus and its mortality potential it has not on just ourselves but our families," the chief said, noting that 20% of those surveyed are asking for more time to decide on the vaccine.

Law enforcement and firefighters are among the first to get access to the vaccine, and it's voluntary. The LAPD chief And L.A. County sheriff are urging their departments to get the vaccine.

Sheriff Alex Villanueva says his department also conducted a survey, which showed that more than 70% of his personnel want to get vaccinated.

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As the new coronavirus variant spreads in the United Kingdom, health officials abroad have decided to extend the time between doses in order to vaccinate more people, more quickly. Now, doctors in the U.S. are discussing this, but not everyone agrees.

Los Angeles City Fire is offering prizes such as a home security system and Airbnb stays as incentives to get vaccinated. According to department, the names of vaccinated firefighters will be placed in a raffle for prizes obtained by the LAFD Foundation.

According to the department, nearly 700 firefighters have tested positive for the virus. A dozen have been hospitalized and two firefighters have died.

Only one-third of the city's 3,400 firefighters have been vaccinated. Fire Chief Ralph Terrazas has indicated he will make it a mandate for the entire department to get vaccinated if more of his personnel opt out.

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