City reverses vaccine mandate for Portland police

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FILE: A vaccination record card is shown during a COVID-19 vaccination drive for Spring Branch Independent School District education workers Tuesday, March 16, 2021, in Houston. School employees who registered were given the Pfizer vaccine.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Portland Police Bureau officers will not be required to get a vaccine after the city announced it would put in a mandate for all city employees.

In a statement, Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler said he was “disappointed” state law prevented the city from requiring a vaccine mandate for Portland Police Bureau officers unless there was a federal or state law, regulation or rule for a vaccine mandate.

In the statement, Wheeler said the city considered police officers under Gov. Kate Brown’s vaccination mandate for health care workers, though it never mentioned police.

On Wednesday, the city said it does not apply and they won’t be able to enforce any mandate.

“I still am strongly encouraging police officers to get vaccinated. Our City Leaders have decided we want to lead by example, and science has proven that vaccines are the most effective tool to end this pandemic,” Wheeler said in a statement. “It is critical that we do everything we can to minimize risk to our community members and co-workers.”

KOIN 6 News has reached out to the Portland police union for comment but has not yet heard back. However, the PPB tweeted about the issue on Thursday morning.

“State law prevents the city from mandating vaccines for police. However, we know the majority of sworn staff were among the first to get vaccinated. At least 600 members were vaccinated through city clinics,” the tweets stated. “We do not know the exact total because there was no mandate, and therefore no tracking. We know many members who went to other places besides the city clinic.”

The PPB said at this time, there are a total of 795 sworn members, 360 of which are patrol officers.

The City of Portland formally mandated all city workers had to be vaccinated against COVID-19 in late August.

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