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

The East Kootenay Network of People Who Use Drugs is organizing a march to city hall on Wednesday, April 14, 2021, starting at 11 a.m. from the ANKORS office. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Advocates to march for overdose awareness, calls for action

B.C. declared the overdose crisis a public health emergency five years ago

Deer will often eat fruit that has fallen from fruit trees. The City’s bylaw states that residents must keep their yards free from fallen fruit. (Corey Bullock/Cranbrook Townsman file)
Time to manage wildlife attractants, says City of Cranbrook

City reminds residents to keep yards free of fruit, pet food, food waste

Zeth Kindrachuk is pictured in action against the Trail Smoke Eaters in the Penticton pod, Saturday, April 10. Jack Murray photo
Bucks drop two to pod rivals

Cranbrook getting to know Penticton Vees, Trail Smoke Eaters, very well indeed.

TC Energy donated $2,000 to Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services to be used towards the purchase of footwear for wildland firefighting situations. Photo courtesy City of Cranbrook.
TC Energy donates $2,000 towards specialized fire department gear

Cranbrook Fire and Emergency Services is the recipient of a $2,000 grant… Continue reading

The KEYSA  Mr. Mike's Junior Players of the Week were Molly Cain and Avery Swain (pictured with Coach Rob Niedermayer).
KEYSA Players of the Week and team standings

League finals set for next week

People take part in an anti-curfew protest in Montreal on Sunday April 11, 2021. Hundreds of people gathered in Old Montreal tonight in defiance of a new 8 p.m. curfew. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Giuseppe Valiante
VIDEO: Hundreds defy Montreal’s 8 p.m. curfew in violent, destructive protest

Quebec reported 1,535 new COVID-19 cases on Sunday, as well as five additional deaths linked to the virus

Dr. E. Kwok administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a recipient at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. to register people ages 40+ for COVID-19 vaccines in April

Appointments are currently being booked for people ages 66 and up

Interior Health improves access to mental health supports amid COVID-19 pandemic. (Stock)
Interior Health connects people to mental health resources amid COVID

310-MHSU line receives positive feedback in early months of rollout

A volunteer disinfects a historical Mohabat Khan mosque ahead of the upcoming Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Friday, April 9, 2021. (AP Photo/Muhammad Sajjad)
For Canadian Muslims, second pandemic Ramadan is a time of hope and sadness

Many members of the association are trying to find ways ‘to help people stay connected to one another’

South Surrey farmland, March 2020. The province’s crackdown on secondary residences sparked protests that have the NDP government engaged in a lengthy rewrite of its legislation. (Tracy Holmes/Peace Arch News)
B.C. NDP now wants to keep even ‘non-farmers’ on the land

‘Grandfathering’ of second residences extended again

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. The Vancouver Canucks say 25 players and coaches have tested positive during a COVID-19 outbreak that involves a variant of the virus. It is now the biggest reported outbreak in the NHL this season. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks’ return to practice pushed back as player added to COVID protocol list

COVID outbreak has led to eight games being cancelled

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

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Most Read