Guam Police Department Chief Stephen Ignacio says he has been informed by the Department of Public Health and Social Services that the men and women in blue are not on the priority list of first responders who will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Guam Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Policy Committee is the deciding entity that determines who is a priority when it comes to receiving the COVID-19 vaccine. And while first responders in healthcare are on the list, first responders in law enforcement are not.
Ignacio says this is a concern because police officers encounter the unknown each day. He believes all law enforcement should be placed on that list, pointing out that their work on the front lines has resulted in a number of positive cases within the police force.
Because we go out there, day in and day out, we deal with the unknowns. We have tested positive for our exposure down there at the quarantine and isolation facilities. Our officers have responded to calls of these known COVID-19 patients who unfortunately have passed away at home. Because they did not pass away in a hospital setting, then we know that we’ve responded to actual known COVID positive patients who died. And we have to go down there to process the scene just like any other death case,” Ignacio said.
Chief Ignacio is hopeful that his conversation with Public Health director Art San Agustin will elevate law enforcement officers to being placed on the priority vaccination list.
Meanwhile, District Court Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood and the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals have also reached out to Public Health in hopes that the vaccine is made available to federal court personnel.