Nearly half of deputies across Central Florida say they’d turn down COVID-19 vaccine

About 50% of Volusia County deputies say they would get vaccinated

DeLAND, Fla. – Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis suggested Tuesday that sworn in law enforcement will be among the next group eligible for the coronavirus vaccine but surveys given in several local sheriff’s offices suggest nearly half of deputies don’t want the vaccine yet.

“I was pretty surprised. I kind of thought we probably would have been around 75%,” Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood said.

The sheriff’s office said there was a first round of vaccinations offered to first responders in Volusia county a few weeks ago. About 130 deputies got it and another 50 have expressed interest in the next round. That’s 180 deputies out of the 420 deputies sworn in.

The office asked all deputies in December if they’d be interested.

“We surveyed our folks and we probably got a 50% positive want to do it,” said Chitwood.

Orange County Sheriff’s Office also sent the survey and just over 1,000 sworn in and civilian employees said they’d take it. It has over 1,600 sworn in deputies alone.

“I think you will see those numbers increase especially for officers over the age of 50,” Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.

Chitwood thinks DeSantis’ plan to open four FEMA vaccination sites across the state for law enforcement could change things.

“It’s their health. It’s their choice on how they want to handle this. We’re not mandating anybody but we’re trying to educate them through look who’s getting vaccinated in our community,” he said.