L.A. city firefighters suing over COVID vaccine mandate

Local news

Hundreds of Los Angeles Fire Department firefighters are joining the legal battle against the city’s COVID-19 vaccine requirement.

Last month, the Los Angeles City Council approved a vaccine mandate for city employees.

Los Angeles Police Department officers filed a lawsuit Saturday, and now firefighters are planning a legal fight of their own.

John Knox, a firefighter and paramedic, said firefighters’ rights “are being violated” by the vaccine mandate.

“You go from everyone thanking you one day for doing your job and coming and helping them in their time of need throughout this pandemic, now all of the sudden, you’re a villain,” Knox said.

Coronavirus vaccines authorized for use in the U.S. have been proven safe and remarkably effective against the worst outcomes of the disease in studies of tens of thousands of people and in the tracking of their real-world performance.

But Kevin McBride, the firefighters’ attorney, said his clients’ right to privacy is being violated, as is their right to choose what they put in their bodies.

“To not let them have a say in their own livelihood, their own health, it’s just wrong. They felt very offended and they’re more than angry,” McBride said.

That anger was made public when a video featuring LAFD Capt. Christian Granucci went viral last month. That video had nearly a quarter of a million views by this week.

As of Thursday, 1,079 LAFD employees had tested positive for coronavirus, while 3,120 LAPD employees have seen positive test results, according to the city.

Los Angeles City Councilman Mark Ridley-Thomas expressed disagreement with the firefighters’ decision, saying he was “shocked” by the firefighters’ resistance to the vaccine mandate.

“It’s pretty embarrassing that people would go to these lengths not to do what is fundamentally in the best interests of themselves, their families and the communities and the workforce of which they are a part,” Ridley-Thomas said.

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