The National Police Federation says inoculating its members will ensure the safety of both officers and the communities they serve. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)

The National Police Federation says inoculating its members will ensure the safety of both officers and the communities they serve. (Phil McLachlan/Capital News)

COVID-19 vaccinations for RCMP officers should be a priority, union tells officials

Federal, provincial officials asked consider Mounties for priority access to COVID-19 vaccines

The union representing front-line RCMP officers is asking federal and provincial officials to consider Mounties for priority access to COVID-19 vaccination.

The National Police Federation says inoculating its members will ensure the safety of both officers and the communities they serve.

Letters have gone out to provincial premiers as well as justice and health ministers, “to express our concern about rolling out the vaccines in a consistent, safe and appropriate manner,” federation president Brian Sauve said in a statement.

In a January letter to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair and Health Minister Patty Hajdu, Sauve emphasized that the federation supports prompt vaccination of health and social-service workers.

But he added that RCMP officers cannot always keep a safe distance from others during public interactions, resulting in close contact with people each day.

Sauve said it means members are often at risk of contracting the novel coronavirus.

“They conduct in-person COVID-19 quarantine compliance checks and they enforce the Public Health Orders. They do so in many settings, including communities in crisis where the rate of infection has surged,” Sauve wrote.

In northern and remote communities, RCMP officers have expanded duties beyond traditional policing roles, such as responding to health emergencies and transporting patients, he noted.

“The risk that the pandemic has brought upon our members has resulted in tragic instances,” Sauve said in the letter.

“As an example, one of our Indigenous RCMP constables posted in a northern First Nation community in Manitoba contracted COVID-19 last fall and lost three family members as a result.”

READ ALSO: Surrey mayor says new city cops could patrol with RCMP by mid-2020

The National Advisory Committee on Immunization has identified groups for early vaccination, including those at high risk for severe illness and death and workers essential to the COVID-19 response.

The RCMP says provinces and territories are responsible for the planning, allocation an distribution of vaccinations through the health-care system.

“Our partners recognize the important role we play in keeping our communities safe,” said Cpl. Caroline Duval, a force spokeswoman.

“Essential workers, including policing organizations, have been identified amongst the priority groups given their increased risk of exposure and the importance of maintaining essential services to communities.”

Vaccine distribution may look “a little bit different” in each jurisdiction and there may be variations that account for special vulnerabilities, like the remoteness of some communities, she added.

Sauve said while essential workers have been identified federally, provinces are being allowed to ignore these guidelines, “which speaks directly to the inconsistency we’re seeing, and calling out across Canada.”

READ ALSO: Surrey Police Service a ‘done deal,’ mayor insists

RCMP

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Const. Allan Young. Photo: Abbotsford Police Department
Manslaughter charge laid in Nelson death of Abbotsford police officer

Allan Young died after an incident in downtown Nelson last summer

Sarah De Klein and her family have created a team – one of many – for the Move4Communitas fitness challenge and fundraiser. (Submitted photo)
Communitas in Abbotsford holds virtual fitness challenge

Move4Communitas started March 1 and runs for 8 weeks

The Kimber family of Boston Bar lost their home in a fire. Blaine Kimber’s daughter created a fundraiser to help rebuild the home with the goal of $100,000. (Screenshot/GoFundMe)
Fundraiser created for Boston Bar family that lost everything in weekend fire

Witnesses say the Kimber family escaped the fire without injury, but their home is a total loss

Police tape is shown in Toronto Tuesday, May 2, 2017. Statistics Canada says the country's crime rate ticked up again in 2018, for a fourth year in a row, though it was still lower than it was a decade ago. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
CRIME STOPPERS: ‘Most wanted’ for the week of March 7

Crime Stoppers’ weekly list based on information provided by police investigators

Elvira D’Angelo, 92, waits to receive her COVID-19 vaccination shot at a clinic in Montreal, Sunday, March 7, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
‘It’s been a good week’: Tam hopeful on vaccines as pandemic anniversary nears

Tam says the addition of two new vaccines will help Canadians get immunized faster

(The Canadian Press)
‘Worse than Sept. 11, SARS and financial crisis combined’: Tourism industry in crisis

Travel services saw the biggest drop in active businesses with 31 per cent fewer firms operating

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

Sarah Cotton-Elliott said she believed her children took a back seat to arranging equal parenting

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

The family of injured Willoughby resident Ronald Gerald Jesso is hoping someone saw something that will help solve the mystery of how he came to be so badly hurt on the morning of Feb. 22. Jesso is still in hospital. (Jesso family/Special to Langley Advance Times)
An appeal to help solve the mystery of an injured Langley man

Family of Ronald Gerald Jesso asks witnesses to come forward

Most Read