Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco spoke out on Monday to double down on recent comments he made stating that he will refuse to mandate COVID-19 vaccination for his department’s sworn officers, staff, or future new hires, despite an order from the state of California to do so.
The sheriff was responding to an article published by The Press-Enterprise about Bianco’s position on COVID-19 vaccination. Bianco said that the reporter “cherry-picked statements from supposed health care experts” in an attempt to “paint me and the Sheriff’s Department in a negative light.” Richard Carpiano, a public health expert and professor of public policy at UC Riverside, was quoted in the article as saying that it “would be an understatement” to call the sheriff’s rhetoric “irresponsible and a dereliction of duty.”
This came after the release of a 13:05-minute “RSO Roundup” video segment in which Bianco first said that he would not enforce vaccine mandates.
“I’m not anti-vax. I am anti-vax for Chad,” Bianco said in the video. “I believe it’s a personal choice.”
Bianco went on to criticize public health officials and to question if the pandemic was really a crisis, saying that “half of doctors say something different.” He also alleged that natural immunity from past COVID-19 infections lasts longer than the protection offered by the currently available vaccines.
“There is absolutely nothing in my podcast that was incorrect or irresponsible,” Bianco said on Monday.
“The government has no ability to mandate your health choices,” he continued. “As your Sheriff, I have an obligation to guard your liberty and freedom. It is time our government and our politicians come to the realization that the only reason they exist is because ‘we the people’ formed our government to secure the blessings of individual liberty and freedom.”
Bianco tested positive for COVID-19 last year and made a full recovery. The Riverside County Medical Association released a statement this week condemning Bianco for his comments about the vaccine.
“It is troubling that we still have public officials who are dismissing the severity of this pandemic, and downplaying the effectiveness of vaccines against serious disease,” the RCMA said in a statement.
Individuals should be free to decide whether or not to get the vaccine without having to fear for their jobs, so we applaud this sheriff for courageously rebelling against his liberal state’s ridiculous mandates. Here’s hoping that more sheriffs in his state and across the country do the same thing!