Wayne's Words: Where is the vaccine mandate for Joliet police?

Wayne Horne | 10/22/2021, 6:29 a.m.
Column updated 10/22/21 Have you been vaccinated for COVID-19? That question has become a flashpoint for many to determine who ...

Story updated 10/22/21

Have you been vaccinated for COVID-19? That question has become a flashpoint for many to determine who is a patriot and who is exercising their freedom to say “you can’t tell me what to do.” Approximately 57 percent of the U.S. population have been vaccinated since early January, 2020. Some who remain unvaccinated cling to the idea that the vaccine has not been proven to be safe. Over 184 million have been fully vaccinated with a small percentage having any adverse reactions and a few with underlying health conditions contracting the virus. The idea that refusing the vaccine because it somehow violates one’s freedom of choice seems unwarranted in view of all the mandated safety precautions in our society. For instance, you can receive a ticket for not wearing a seatbelt.

There are thousands of mandates that affect our everyday lives, yet we observe them because they are in our own best interests as well as others. Most mandates simply mirror common sense. One of the weirdest rejections regarding a vaccination mandate is coming from the Chicago Police department union, the Fraternal Order of Police. The FOP is fighting the mayor of Chicago’s mandate because it wasn’t negotiated with the union leadership. It seems it’s not an issue of safety, protection of the public or cost but it’s because the mayor didn’t ask? Thus, it seems, it’s an issue of personal “freedom.” Remember the movie “A Few Good Men”? Tom Cruise’s character asks Jack Nicholson’s character for an aircraft manifest and Nicholson says sure, but you have to ask me nicely. Same thing here. Really, how silly! By the way, the number one cause of police deaths at this time is not violence on the street. It’s COVID-19.

So, what is the status of the Joliet City employees when it comes to a vaccine mandate. The answer is: there is none. That’s right the City of Joliet administration does not have a protocol for a vaccine requirement for its employees, according to City Manager Jim Caparelli. His words, “we’re working on it.” I do not know if some of the City Council is vaccinated of if some are not. Of course, it’s easier to let the situation just ride. Maybe we’ll all be lucky and this whole COVID-19 thing will just go away. In the meantime, I’m vaccinated and still keeping my distance with a mask where appropriate. My mother taught me that common sense is an excellent protocol.

One last thing…back in August of this year the Will County Health Department gave out $15,000 grants to ten non-profit community-based organizations that will partner with the WCHD “to conduct vaccination outreach and pop-up clinics to increase vaccination rates among African American, Hispanic and Rural communities.”

It seems like a good idea to increase vaccination rates but what are these organizations doing with the money. What is the plan for accomplishing the objective of the grants? Who coordinates the program and determines the success of the organizations? There have been no reports issued announcing what objectives have been reached or not been reached. The availability of the vaccine is widespread and it is free. Perhaps the City of Joliet could be targeted by the ten organizations and get a handle on how many employees that work for the city are actually vaccinated. Let’s get past “we’re working on it.”

Stay tuned…

Contact Wayne at wayneswords@thetimesweekly.com