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

Premier John Horgan with drawings of replacement bridge for the Pattullo during a February 2018 presser. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey city staff want to act on council’s behalf for ‘minor’ changes to new Pattullo

The old bridge’s replacement is expected to be open for traffic in the fall of 2023

Marchers in support of Indian farmers walk along King George Boulevard in Surrey on Sunday afternoon, March 7, from Bear Creek to Holland Park. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
‘It won’t end’: Protesters march for Indian Farmers at another Surrey rally, with more to come

Across Surrey, more and more vehicles are seen with ‘No Farmers, No Food’ stickers and flags

The emergency department at Peace Arch Hospital in White Rock, B.C., in July 2020. (Black Press Media)
Peace Arch Hospital Foundation reaches $12 million goal

New operating suites to open this fall

(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

Health Minister Adrian Dix, front, B.C. Premier John Horgan and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrive for a news conference about the provincial response to the coronavirus, in Vancouver, B.C., Friday, March 6, 2020. Pandemic emergency measures have been in place for almost a year. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C. officials plead for patience as 1.7 million COVID-19 calls flood in

Vaccine registration for 90-plus seniors opened Monday

A West Kootenay man died in an avalanche on March 4 while snowmobiling near Mount Payne, which is indicted by the red flag. Illustration: Google Maps
B.C. father of 3 dead after avalanche in West Kootenay

The man was snowmobiling with a group when incident occurred March 4

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

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Vaccine hesitancy decreases in B.C. as mass immunizations set to begin: poll

Two-thirds of British Columbians, and Canadians, would get the vaccine as soon as possible

Software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, has been forced to re-skill during the COVID-19 pandemic after more than six years of unsuccessfully applying for jobs in B.C.’s tech industry. (Submitted photo/Shaimma Yehia)
Why skilled immigrant women continue to be shut out of B.C.’s booming tech sector

Experienced software engineer Shaimma Yehia, 40, hasn’t found a job since she migrated to Canada 6 years ago

Ron Sivorot, business director at Kennametal’s Langford site, the Greater Victoria facility that made a component being used on NASA’s Perseverance rover on Mars. (Jake Romphf, Black Press Media)
NASA’s Perseverance Mars rover digging in with B.C.-made part

Kennametal’s Langford plant’s tooth blank is helping the rover’s drill collect rock cores

A woman walks through Toronto’s financial district on Monday, July 30, 2018. A new poll suggests most Canadians believe there’s still a long way to go to achieve gender equality in this country. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graeme Roy
Canadians, especially women, say gender equality not achieved in Canada: Poll

Poll results themselves underscore the challenge, with more men believing equality had been achieved

Most Read