A Massachusetts police chief who has said he plans to skip getting the coronavirus vaccine may be having a change of heart.
Auburn Police Chief Andrew Sluckis and half of the officers in his department have had said they didn't plan to get the vaccine when it’s made available to first responders statewide next week, MassLive reported.
But reached Friday, he indicated that developments with COVID-19 -- an emerging strain that appears more contagious, and which has prompted a nationwide lockdown in the United Kingdom -- might change whether he gets vaccinated.
“With the new strain of the virus that spreads so easily from what has been reported, I am giving getting the vaccine a second look,” Sluckis said.
He'd been facing outcry from Auburn City Hall.
“This vaccine is critical to curbing the spread of COVID-19,” Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson said earlier Friday.
And that’s why she's been so concerned about Sluckis turning down the vaccine.
“While Chief Sluckis is entitled to his personal opinion,” said Jacobson, “his comments regarding the COVID-19 vaccine don’t represent the opinion of town administration.”
Jacobson said she understands some may not be able to take the vaccine for health reasons, but she believes -- following scientific consensus and guidance of the Baker administration -- that the more of them who get vaccinated, the safer it will be for their agencies and the communities they serve.
“So when first responders do go to an emergency situation ... we feel confident that we’re doing everything we can to make sure that the citizenry is safe. That’s critical, it’s part of our job, it’s our obligation,” Jacobson said.
We found mixed reaction to vaccine opposition among Auburn residents.
Auburn’s health director said the first two vaccine clinics for first responders are scheduled to open next week. They’re encouraging everyone in police, fire and EMS to get it.