GPD not being prioritized for vaccine

GPD Chief of Police Stephen Ignacio (PNC file photo)

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.



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Jolene Toves
Jolene joined the PNC team in 2017, as a producer, co-anchor and investigative reporter covering law enforcement, courts and crimes. Notable coverage includes the Ehlert case, the Mark Torre Jr. trial, the Allan Agababa trial, exclusive pieces on the Life of a Drug Dealer/Addict, and Life behind bars...the story of Honofre Chargualaf and Kevin Cruz. In 2019, she was promoted to Assistant News Director and Lead Anchor. From 2015 to 2017 she served as Public Relations and Promotions Manager, for the Hotel Nikko Guam handling local radio and advertorial promotions, as well as produced and directed tv commercials for the hotel. Prior to this she worked with KUAM for three years as a reporter and segment host. She began her journalism career in 2012, working with Glimpses of Guam contributing to the Guam Business Magazine, R&R magazine, MDM magazine and the Marianas Business Journal.