As protests against the Biden administration's vaccine mandates heat up across the country, with officers, teachers, and firefighters walking off the job, as well as reports from military personnel that they are leaving the force rather than submit, Psaki defended the mandate.
"If the whole point of a vaccine mandate is to make people safer," Fox News' Peter Doocy asked, "but a vaccine mandate also means tons of police and military may walk off the job, then at the end of the day, does a vaccine mandate, make people safer?
"Well," Psaki replied, "where tons of police and military walking off the job?"
"Hundreds of thousands of US service members remain unvaccinated, which is leading to questions about possible military readiness. The LA County Sheriff says that five to ten percent of their workforce could walk off the job... Is there any concern about that?" Doocy asked.
"Well, I would I would say what we point to," Psaki said, "or what I would point you to is evidence with a range of companies, organizations, frankly, the Department of Defense can also give you the up to date statistics on members of the military, I believe it's over 90 percent But I would point you to them for specifics—"
"There are other problems in the world than COVID-19," Doocy cited, "international terror, gang violence, murder, arson, drug dealing, is there any concern—"
Psaki interrupted to ask "What was the highest, what was the number one cause of death by police officers last year, do you know? COVID-19. So that's something that we're working to address and police departments are working to address. If you look at Seattle, as an example, which I know has been in some of the reporting, 92 percent of the police forces vaccinated, as are 93 percent of firefighters, 99 percent of Seattle's 11,000 employees have submitted vaccine verification or an exemption request."
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, 185 police officers in the US died with or as a cause of COVID-19 in 2020. This is out of some 700,000 police officers currently working in the US. 295 officers died in total, with the nearest cause of fatality being that they were shot. The Biden administration would like to eliminate guns, as well. The next leading cause of death among officers was car accidents.
"What about public safety though?" Doocy asked. "All these other problems terror, murder, robberies, kidnappings, is there any concern that if police forces shrink, or if the size of the ready military force shrinks, that the United States or localities may not be equipped properly to deal with that?"
"More than 700,000 people have died of COVID," Psaki said, "again it was the number one cause of death among police departments and police officers. It's something that we should take seriously, departments are trying to save people in their departments, people who work for them, we support that effort and there's been a success across the country."
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said that officers who decline to get vaccinated are aiming to "induce an insurrection."