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APD officers creating video to encourage vaccination after death of their colleagues

The Austin Police Department estimates 50% of its population is vaccinated against COVID-19. Two officers died of the virus in August.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin Police Department officers who were unvaccinated before contracting COVID-19 and recovering are making a video encouraging their coworkers to get vaccinated.

This comes after two APD officers died of COVID-19 two days in a row in August. 

Rick Randall, APD’s senior chaplain, spoke on behalf of the department at the Austin Public Safety Commission’s meeting on Tuesday. Randall said both of the officers who died of COVID-19 in August were not vaccinated.

“Most of our infections since the first of March have been because of people being unvaccinated, and that’s absolutely true of our two recent fatalities, because neither one of those were vaccinated,” Randall said.

RELATED: Public Safety Commission to address COVID-related absences for Austin first responders

Randall said the department estimates 50% of its population is vaccinated against the coronavirus.

Gov. Greg Abbott passed an executive order stating no government entity can require anyone to get a COVID-19 vaccine. APD is not requiring one in accordance, but the video is meant to encourage employees to get the shot.  

“We are in the process right now of creating a video where we’ve had a couple of our employees who didn’t get vaccinated, got COVID, got very sick, fortunately recovered, but they’re going on to tell their story publicly now to encourage their coworkers to get vaccinated,” Randall said.

   

Data from the commission meeting also revealed vaccination rates within the Austin Fire Department and Austin-Travis County EMS.

AFD estimates 77% of its personnel are vaccinated, and ATCEMS estimates 90% of its personnel are vaccinated.

Senior Patrol Officer Randolph Boyd died of COVID-19 complications on Aug. 25. The following day, Sgt. Steve Urias died of the coronavirus.

AFD announced one of its firefighters, Rodney Kelley, died of COVID-19 the next week.

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