Undersheriff: Many in Las Colinas Jail Staff Fear Vaccines | Voice of San Diego

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Undersheriff: Many in Las Colinas Jail Staff Fear Vaccines

Kelly Martinez, the sheriff's No. 2, said 'some of them still believe that this will affect fertility. So we’re working through some misinformation.'
Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility
Las Colinas Detention and Re-entry Facility. / Photo courtesy of the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department

The sheriff’s top deputy, Kelly Martinez, revealed something interesting about some of her employees last week.

At our debate between the candidates for sheriff Thursday, we asked what they each thought about whether the sheriff should require all employees to take the COVID-19 vaccination. Right now, the county requires vaccines or weekly tests. All new hires must be vaccinated and all jail personnel who work in medical settings must get vaccinated.

“I definitely support the vaccination. I got vaccinated as soon as I could,” Martinez said. But she didn’t think it was appropriate at this time to say whether all employees of the sheriff’s department should be required to get the vaccination.

She then mentioned a significant group of holdouts: Women who work at Las Colinas Detention Facility for women.

“I do want to say that the perception that deputies or officers are not getting vaccinated or don’t want them to be vaccinated — a lot of it isn’t because they’re some crazy right wing idealist,” she said before mentioning Las Colinas.

“Some of them still believe that this will affect fertility. So we’re working through some misinformation,” she said. “I just don’t want people to think law enforcement are looking at this from the perspective of some crazy ideal.”

To be clear, there’s no evidence the vaccines affect fertility.

One-click exemption: 10News reported that the Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the union for officers in the department, outlined how to get religious exemptions from the mandate. Just click a button.

“After submitting the religious exemption, deputies will receive an automated response informing them their religious exemption is approved,” reads the email from the union to its members.

Other takes: Dave Myers, a retired deputy who is running for sheriff, said he would absolutely mandate vaccines. When asked what he would do if any deputies quit in large numbers, he said that wouldn’t happen.

“You do not spend hundreds and hundreds of hours in an academy and phase training and get into law enforcement to say, because I have to get a shot, I’m going to quit and walk away,” Myers said.

John Hemmerling, who leads the city of San Diego city attorney’s criminal division and is also running, said he prefers to give people a choice. But he would follow the rules.

“There’s a lot of law enforcement individuals who, for all the reasons that Dave stated, do want to get vaccinated and they do appreciate the mandate because they have to be around individuals who are not doing it,” he said.

Related: Our favorite local immunologist, Shane Crotty, has some takes on boosters and mixing of different shots. Here’s what he would choose if you’re, say, a Johnson and Johnson and thinking about a Moderna, etc. And here’s his take on a new study about all the mixing.

No offense to other immunologists. He’s just been on our podcast, where we asked him about the fertility myth, and other issues. If you missed that, it’s here.

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