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DeSantis to Anti-Vax Cops: We'll Give You $5K to Move Here

Governor hopes to sign legislation that would offer bonus to relocating officers resisting vax mandates
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 25, 2021 8:40 AM CDT
DeSantis to Anti-Vax Cops: We'll Give You $5K to Move Here
In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks at the Doral Academy Preparatory School in Doral, Fla.   (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee. File)

(Newser) – Ron DeSantis has an offer for police officers around the country: If you don't want to get vaccinated and may have to leave your job because of it, his state has a place for you. The Florida governor appeared on Fox News on Sunday, telling host Maria Bartiromo that his team is "actively working" to attract cops from out of state who've been resisting vaccine mandates, and that he's even working on legislation that would offer a $5,000 bonus to any law enforcement officers who relocate to the Sunshine State, reports the Hill.

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"NYPD, Minneapolis, Seattle, if you're not being treated well, we will treat you better here," DeSantis said. "You can fill important needs for us, and we will compensate you as a result." Those needs include roles within Florida's police and sheriff's departments, he noted. DeSantis' move ahead of what he says is a looming "unconstitutional" mandate by the Biden administration that would require all US businesses with 100 or more workers to mandate vaccination or weekly testing.

The Washington Post, which details some of the pushback against such mandates in law enforcement departments around the US, also notes that COVID was the No. 1 cause of death in 2020 for police officers in the line of duty, killing more than 180, with another 133 dying this year so far, per the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. Other police-tied groups, such as the Officer Down Memorial Page and the National Fraternal Order of Police, have encouraged cops to get vaccinated, though the latter stresses that it's "vehemently opposed" to any type of mandate.

DeSantis says he's balking at required vaccination for police officers because "most" of the first responders who are refusing to get vaxxed have already had COVID, and so have "strong protection" against the disease already. But per Rolling Stone, "many in the scientific community recommend vaccines for people who had a prior COVID infection," citing a peer-reviewed CDC study that found more than one-third of those who'd had COVID didn't develop any antibodies against the illness; other research has found that almost 100% of non-immunocompromised people who get the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine develop crucial antibodies after just one dose. "A vaccine in addition to natural immunity, so-called 'hybrid immunity,' appears to convey the best protection from the virus," Rolling Stone notes. (Read more Ron DeSantis stories.)

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