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Monday, December 4, 2023

Portland cannot require COVID-19 vaccination for police officers

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Despite a new city order, the mayor of Portland, Ted Wheeler, confirmed on Wednesday that state law forbids Portland from requiring police officers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Mayor Wheeler said he was disappointed that all city workers aren’t required to receive the vaccine, and he urged cops to do so.

The city attorney’s office said Tuesday that the ordinance requiring cops to be vaccinated had become legally questionable due to new health agency recommendations.

Under Oregon law, local governments can only impose vaccine requirements on police officers if a federal or state regulation demands it. The city thought that because police get some medical training as part of their employment, Gov. Kate Brown’s vaccination mandate issued in August for state health care workers covered them.

However, the instructions stated that cops are most likely exempt because providing medical treatment is not considered a “fundamental component of their job.”

The City Council of Portland, Oregon, voted last Thursday to require all city workers to submit proof of vaccination by September 10, display that they are currently being vaccinated or apply for an exemption if they do not already have one. They may also be fired if they do not comply.

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