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COVID-19 vaccine program eliminates law enforcement workforce infections: a Bayesian structural time series analysis

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COVID-19 has created tremendous operational difficulties for law enforcement agencies, with substantial portions of their staff quarantined for either exposure or infection. With the rollout of a vaccine beginning in early 2021, there is hoped for relief on the horizon. However, to date, no study has reported the vaccine’s effect on infection rates within the law enforcement workforce. We address that gap with a report on a single large agency’s experience, using data on officer positivity rates gathered over 341 days. During the immunization period, employees accepted vaccination at over 70% uptake. Results show the vaccine eliminated new cases of COVID-19 among the agency’s nearly 700 employees within weeks. As other agencies consider their vaccination programs, they should consider communicating early and often about the impact of the pandemic on operations and the efficacy of vaccination, including the results reported here.
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COVID-19 Vaccine Program Eliminates Law Enforcement
Workforce Infections: A Bayesian Structural Time Series
Analysis *
Scott M. Mourtgos University of Utah
Ian T. Adams University of Utah
COVID-19 has created tremendous operational difficulties for law enforcement agencies, with
substantial portions of their staff quarantined for either exposure or infection. With the rollout of
a vaccine beginning in early 2021, there is hoped for relief on the horizon. However, to date, no
study has reported the vaccine’seffect on infection rates within the law enforcement workforce.
We address that gap with a report on a single large agency’s experience, using data on officer
positivity rates gathered over 341 days. During the immunization period, employees accepted
vaccination at over 70% uptake. Results show the vaccine eliminated new cases of COVID-19
among the agency’s nearly 700 employees within weeks. As other agencies consider their vacci-
nation programs, they should consider communicating early and often about the impact of the
pandemic on operations and the efficacy of vaccination, including the results reported here.
Keywords: COVID-19; vaccination; police; Bayesian structural time series
Post-print
Post-print of accepted article at Police Practice and Research https://doi.org/10.1080/15614263.
2021.1894937
Introduction
The COVID-19 pandemic is a public health emergency that has drawn on for an extended period.
The pandemic has infected over one hundred million individuals and killed over two million
worldwide. Police officers are not immune to these adverse outcomes, with 221 law enforcement
deaths in the U.S. attributed to the virus in 2020 alone. The death toll from COVID-19 accounts
for 65% of all U.S. law enforcement deaths in 2020 and is five times the number of officer deaths
from gunfire (ODMP, 2021). As of October 2020, nearly 6,000 members of the New York City Po-
lice Department had tested positive for COVID-19, and 46 members had died (Eyewitness News,
2020). As of January 2021, over 500 members of the Detroit Police Department had tested positive
for COVID-19, including the Chief of Police. The department reports losing approximately 20,000
working days during the pandemic due to officer quarantines (Abdel-Baqui, 2021).
The stark realities of the pandemic’s effect on law enforcement have necessitated operational
changes for police agencies. These challenges and changes are exacerbated because of the height-
ened risk of exposure for police officers due to their frequent close contact with members of the
public (Jennings & Perez, 2020). With no blueprint on managing operations in a pandemic, po-
lice agencies have had to make frequent changes in uncertain circumstances (Jones, 2020). Some
of these changes have included suspending training and roll calls, limiting access to department
facilities, suspending community outreach initiatives, and transitioning employees to telecom-
muting when possible (Jennings & Perez, 2020). Further, many agencies report limiting proactive
*Current version: February 25, 2021; Corresponding author: scott.mourtgos@utah.edu.
1
traffic and pedestrian stops and responding remotely (i.e., telephone, internet, videoconference)
to some calls-for-service (Lum et al., 2020a, 2020b).
Law enforcement agencies have had to adopt a medical approach, acquiring and (hopefully)
implementing epidemiologists’ advice on slowing the virus’s spread within their agencies (Jones,
2020). This advice has included the expanded use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such
as N95 masks, gloves, disinfectant use, and rigorous decontamination procedures upon expo-
sure (Centers for Disease Control, 2020; Simpson & Sandrin, 2021). Even with these precautions,
police agencies have experienced severe staffing shortages due to illness and prophylactic quar-
antines (Abdel-Baqui, 2021; Eyewitness News, 2020; Stone, 2021). It has been suggested that these
pandemic-related staffing shortages may be linked to fewer homicides being solved (Calvert &
Elinson, 2020), increased violent crime (Abdel-Baqui, 2021; Rosenfeld & Lopez, 2020), and mental
and operational fatigue (Jiang, 2020). Compounding these struggles are increases in domestic vi-
olence cases, themselves associated with pandemic-related stay-at-home orders (Leslie & Wilson,
2020; Nix & Richards, 2021).
A diminished workforce has been identified as a primary obstacle to policing during a pan-
demic. Absenteeism places additional stress on the remaining available officers, impacts perfor-
mance, and adds further stress on remaining officers (Laufs & Waseem, 2020). With the impos-
sibility of removing all risks for infection and continued demand for public engagement (Nix et
al., 2021), the only apparent long-term solution is widespread vaccinations within police agencies.
However, with the combination of the newness of the COVID-19 vaccines, the rapid manner in
which they were developed and distributed, the reluctance of most agencies to mandate vacci-
nation (PERF, 2021a), and many agencies facing the specter of low vaccination rates within their
organizations (PERF, 2021a; Rector, 2021), it is still unclear how much of an effect the rollout of
COVID-19 vaccines will have on law enforcement workforces.
With the reported efficacy rates of the first two vaccines being distributed—approximately 95%
(Branswell, 2021)—the expectation is substantial decreases in infection rate within a department
upon widespread vaccination. However, as police officers are at a particularly heightened risk of
exposure (Jennings & Perez, 2020) and perhaps more reluctant to undergo vaccination voluntarily
(Rector, 2021), ultimately, this remains an empirical question. We examine vaccines’ effect on a
police population in one large police department in the western U.S., providing an early investi-
gation into the causal link between agency-level vaccinations and infection rates.
Data and Methods
We obtained daily infection case data from the Salt Lake City Police Department (SLCPD). The
data was collected beginning March 9, 2020, and continued through February 12, 2021, for a total
of 341 time-series data points. The SLCPD is authorized 691 employees. Over the studied time
period, the total number of employees fluctuated between 600 and 691 due to resignations, retire-
ments, and hiring of new personnel. Throughout the studied period, the agency had 85 positive
tests, equating to 12% of its authorized workforce.
The state of Utah began the first phase of its vaccination program in early December 2020.
The initial phase provided for the vaccination of hospital healthcare workers, long-term care facil-
ity residents and staff, non-hospital healthcare workers, and public health and tribal health care
workers. The second part of Utah’s initial vaccination phase included law enforcement officers
and K-12 teachers. Utah primarily used local health departments for vaccination administration.
The SLCPD is situated in Salt Lake County. The county’s health department began providing
vaccinations to law enforcement staff on January 6, 2021. Given the impact and importance of
civilian staff on law enforcement agency operations (Adams & Mastracci, 2020), both sworn and
2
non-sworn staff were included in the vaccination program. Slightly more than 70% of all SLCPD
police department employees received a first vaccination over four days.1
To analyze the vaccination program’s effect on SLCPD’s infection rate, we estimate a Bayesian
Structural Time Series (BSTS) model2. We leverage the model to conduct a causal impact analysis
(Brodersen et al., 2015). When a series of measures are broken up by introducing an intervention
that occurs at a specific point in time, time-series analysis is appropriate (Shadish et al., 2002).
Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines were used during the police officer vaccinations (Baden et
al., 2021; Polack et al., 2020). Both vaccines require two doses. The interval between Moderna
doses is 28 days, and 21 days for the Pfizer vaccine (Branswell, 2021). Even with employees re-
ceiving the required second doses in the following weeks, it is reported that the Pfizer vaccine is
approximately 52% effective after the first dose, and the Moderna vaccine is approximately 80%
effective after the first dose (Gorvett, 2021). However, more recent evidence indicates that just an
initial vaccine dose alone is approximately 92% effective for both vaccines (Skowronski & De Ser-
res, 2021). Accordingly, the intervention date in the analysis is January 6, 2021 (i.e., the first day of
vaccinations), resulting in 303 pre-intervention data points and 38 post-intervention data points.
A cursory review of the data appears to indicate that vaccinations did affect the agency’s infec-
tion rate. As observed in Figure 1, a rapid decline in the seven-day rolling average infection rate
per 100 employees occurred immediately following the vaccine intervention point. Within weeks,
the seven-day average fell to zero, eliminating the impact of infections among agency personnel.
However, this uncontrolled analysis cannot judge whether the observed change is significantly
different from what we would have expected if vaccinations had not occurred. Infection rates
have ebbed and flowed during the pandemic during various ‘surges.’ As an overall decrease in
positive cases was experienced within the state while the agency rate plummeted, it may be the
observed reduction was not causally related to the vaccination program at SLCPD. For a more
robust assessment of the impact of vaccinations on the agency infection rate, we turn to the BSTS
model.
Causal Inference
BSTS models are used to infer causal impact by predicting the counterfactual treatment response
in a synthetic control that would have occurred if no intervention had taken place. The synthetic
control is constructed using the experimental group’s time-series behavior before and after the
intervention and combining control variables predictive of the target series before the intervention
(Mourtgos et al., 2021). A key component of utilizing BSTS models for causal impact analysis is
the identification of predictors. Predictors are regressed onto the observed values, creating the
composite synthetic control series.
A police department is a microcosm of its surrounding communities. Accordingly, its COVID-
19 infection rate should generally follow similar patterns as the city, county, and state where it is
1The Salt Lake County Health Department provided several vaccination sessions after the initial vaccinations for
those who did not receive the vaccine originally. At the completion of these make-up sessions, approximately 75% of
the Salt Lake City Police Department’s workforce was vaccinated. If the number of employees who acquired a level of
natural immunity from infection, but did not receive the vaccine, are included, the percentage of the workforce that has
some level of immunity is nearly 80%.
2Bayesian Structural Time Series modeling was chosen over the more common ARIMA method for a number of
reasons. First, BSTS models are flexible and modular. This allows for researchers to determine the structure of the model
by considering whether and how to include regressors, whether short- or long-term predictions are more important,
and whether seasonal model components are necessary (Scott, 2017). Further, by working in a Bayesian framework,
investigators can better acknowledge and incorporate uncertainty into statistical models and discuss outcomes in terms
of probabilities, which tend to be more intuitive.
3
Figure 1: Figure 1. 7-Day Rolling Average of Infection Rate per 100 Employees November 1st,
2020 – February 12th, 2021.
4
situated. To assess this logic’s soundness, Figure 2 plots the seven-day rolling average infection
rate per 100 persons for SLCPD, Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, and the state of Utah from March
9, 2020, through January 5, 2021 (i.e., the pre-intervention period). As shown, the infection rate
closely tracks the infection rate of these different community levels, though a noticeably higher
rate of infection among SLCPD employees compared to the underlying community is detectable
beginning in late summer 2020. Importantly, if vaccination of almost three-quarters of the police
department had a significant effect on its infection rate, we would not expect to see a similar drop
in these other three measures, as the vast majority of individuals in these larger communities
were not being vaccinated during the same period. As such, the concurrent city, county, and state
infection rates are employed as control variables in the synthetic model.
Figure 2: Figure 2. 7-Day Rolling Average of Infection Rate per 100 Persons March 9th, 2020 – Jan
5th, 2021.
A BSTS model was estimated for the department’s infection rate. The model makes probabilis-
tic estimations of what the department’s infection rate ‘should’ have been without the vaccination
intervention. These probabilistic estimations are based on the department’s infection rate prior
to vaccinations and its statistical relationship with the surrounding communities’ infection rates3.
This allows us to compare the department’s infection rate following the vaccination intervention
3The BSTS model was estimated with a local linear trend state component and a regression component for the control
variables with spike-and-slab priors over coefficients. Ten thousand Markov Chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) samples were
5
with what we would have expected it to be without the vaccination intervention. Results for the
model assessing change in the infection rate are presented in Figure 3.
Figure 3: Figure 3. Significant Decrease in Positive Cases Following Vaccinations.
Table 1 demonstrates the vaccinations are associated with decreased COVID-19 infection rates
at the studied police department. During the post-vaccination period, the average infection rate
per 100 was 0.043. By contrast, in the absence of vaccinations, a counterfactual average infection
rate of 0.127 per 100 would be expected. Subtracting this prediction from the observed response
yields an estimate of the vaccinations’ absolute causal effect on the COVID-19 infection rate per
100 employees (-0.084), resulting in a 66% relative decrease in the infection rate. The posterior
probability of the observed effect is .95. In other words, there is a very high probability that the
vaccinations reduced the COVID-19 infection rate at the studied police department.
Note that in Figure 3, the synthetic model also predicts a declining infection rate. This pre-
dicted trend demonstrates the estimated model’s credibility, as a natural decrease in SLCPD’s sur-
rounding communities was observed around the same period. However, the police department’s
vaccinations depressed the infection rate (to zero) much quicker than would have otherwise been
expected in the counterfactual scenario.
drawn, with 89% posterior distribution credible intervals generated.
6
Table 1 about here
Figure 4: Causal Impact Posterior Inference.
Discussion
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant obstacles to policing. One of the most challenging
pandemic outcomes has been keeping police department workforce levels operationally viable
(Abdel-Baqui, 2021). The above analysis shows that vaccinating a large percentage of a police
agency can help protect its employees and allow for adequate operational staffing. A vaccination
program at the studied agency is associated with a rapid decrease of infections among employees,
effectively eliminating the pandemic’s effect on staffing.
Rapidly documenting and communicating these findings are especially important during a
period where a policing ‘workforce crisis’ has already been identified (PERF, 2019). While this
may seem to be a fairly obvious solution to the problems the pandemic is causing law enforcement
agencies, we hope that empirically documenting this result within a police agency will 1) help
encourage officers in other agencies to get vaccinated, and 2) support agencies in making intensive
efforts to boost staff vaccination rates.
Before encouraging officers to take advantage of the vaccine, however, agencies must have
access to it. Reporting indicates that access has proven more difficult in some areas than what
the studied agency experienced. Delayed access to vaccines for police officers has been reported
in many areas, including Ohio (Halperin, 2021), California (Cain, 2021; Gotfredson, 2021), and
New York (NBC New York, 2021). Logistical delays may not be the only hindrance to a well-
vaccinated law enforcement workforce. Internal surveys at several agencies have reported that
their workforce intends to receive the vaccine at a much lower rate than that observed at SLCPD.
These estimates range from 33% to 60% (PERF, 2021a; Rector, 2021). Low vaccination rates could
prove problematic as it is estimated that at least 70% of a population needs to be immune to create
herd immunity (Mayo Clinic, 2021).
Most police agencies are not mandating vaccination (PERF, 2021a). Though likely legal and
effective, mandatory vaccinations are controversial and raise a host of ethical concerns (Dubov &
Phung, 2015). Even when forced vaccination is legal, it is suggested that mandated compliance
increases resistance within a workforce (Laufs & Waseem, 2020). Instead, education and modeling
are advocated. The Los Angeles Fire Department recognized hesitancy within their organiza-
tion regarding the vaccine. To encourage firefighters to take advantage of the vaccine, the Chief
regularly disseminated charts and data regarding the pandemic’s effect on the organization and
its staff. Further, the Chief publicly received the vaccine when it was available, along with the
organization’s two union presidents. As a result, similar to the studied police department, the
7
Los Angeles Fire Department also achieved approximately 70% of its employees being vaccinated
(PERF, 2021b).
Interestingly, the studied police department mirrored the Los Angeles Fire Department in its
vaccination strategy. A captain was appointed in mid-2020 to oversee SLCPD’s internal COVID-19
response. The captain sent weekly updates with information and charts explaining the pandemic’s
effect on its workforce. As the vaccination plan was contemplated, the vaccine’s efficacy and safety
were regularly communicated to staff in both written and in-person formats. The statewide law
enforcement labor organization communicated early support for the program, taking a positive
stance towards vaccination in mid-December 2020. Further, the Chief of Police made his vaccina-
tion experience public.
While outside the scope of this study to recommend a specific course of action for agencies
to follow in their vaccination programs, we view the reported results as providing two mainline
takeaways. First, COVID-19 vaccines work. Second, access to, and widespread uptake of, COVID-
19 vaccines is necessary. Agency and labor organization leadership can play an essential role in
driving the voluntary vaccination rate towards levels that support herd immunity. As this study
demonstrates, high vaccination rates can allow an agency to recover swiftly, with new COVID-19
infection rates among staff at or near zero. Recent evidence indicates that just one dose of the vac-
cines are ~92% effective (Skowronski & De Serres, 2021). The findings presented here make it clear
that there are significant positive effects for both the agency and its workforce from widespread
vaccination. As the vaccine becomes more widely available, non-first responder public agencies
should begin early efforts similar to those reported here to best prepare their staff.
Future research should attempt to replicate our findings while considering what factors con-
tribute to varying voluntary vaccination rates within law enforcement and other first responder
populations. There are continuing, but thus far unresolved, questions regarding whether COVID-
19 will become endemic (Hernandez & Hinshaw, 2021), while variants in the disease also raise
the possibility that current vaccination regimes will prove insufficient (Centers for Disease Con-
trol, 2021). To that point, at this time we cannot know the efficacy of the COVID-19 vaccines over
longer periods. By documenting the results of vaccination programs in the many varied contexts
of US law enforcement today, scholars can contribute towards a knowledge base addressing on-
going and future epidemiological threats.
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... Given that police officers often consider their departments to lack adequate resources for day-to-day police functions, a global pandemic would add significant strain on officers and organizations alike, resulting in increased levels of officers' stress and burnout (Stogner et al., 2020;Papazoglou et al., 2020;White and Fradella, 2020). One study addresses these questions organizationally, finding that early, sustained messaging positively affects police vaccination rates (Mourtgos and Adams, 2021). ...
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Purpose After more than 18 months of life during a pandemic, much of the world is beginning to transition back to some semblance of normalcy. As that happens, institutions – including policing – need to acknowledge changes that had been made during the pandemic and decide what modifications and innovations, if any, to continue moving forward. Design/methodology/approach The authors use semi-structured interviews and focus groups of police personnel in the United States (US) and Canada. The sample includes police officers and frontline supervisors ( n = 20). The authors conduct qualitative analysis using deductive and inductive coding schemes. Findings The sample identified four areas of adaptation during the pandemic: 1) safety measures, 2) personnel reallocation, 3) impacts on training and 4) innovation and role adjustments. These areas of adaptation prompted several recommendations for transitioning police agencies out of the pandemic. Originality/value A growing number of studies are addressing police responses to the pandemic. Virtually all are quantitative in nature, including all studies investigating the perceptions of police personnel. The body of perceptual studies is extraordinarily small and primarily focuses on police executives, ignoring the views of the rank-and-file who are doing the work of street-level police business. This is the first study to delve into the perceptions of this group, and does so using a qualitative approach that permits a richer understanding of the nuances of perception.
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Since 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to limit its spread have had a huge impact on society. Crime opportunities and criminal justice systems have also been affected by this health crisis. With the aim of international collaboration, a working group has been created to promote research among European researchers and thereby facilitate the exchange of information and comparative studies on the impact of Covid-19 on crime and criminal justice systems. Thus, in order to get an overview of the academic publishing, the School of Criminal Justice of the University of Lausanne has undertaken a preliminary review of publications released on crime trends and police activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. This research identified the manuscripts published in English between February 2020 and July 2021 in order to review the time period investigated, the geographic area, the data used, the analytical strategies and the results. In total, the keywords chosen were able to identify 128 manuscripts. Concerning crime trends, most of the results confirmed the drop and the U-shaped recovery for property crimes and street crimes in general while cybercrime and domestic violence seems to have increased during the lockdown. Concerning the police, it played an important role in making sure that the government health guidelines were enforced. The public's trust in the police rose at the beginning of the crisis but the rise was only temporary. After the easing of the health guidelines, this trust declined as the police was still required to enforce some rules.
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Research Summary: We examine changes in help‐seeking for domestic violence (DV) in seven U.S. cities during the COVID‐19 pandemic. Using Bayesian structural time‐series modeling with daily data to construct a synthetic counterfactual, we test whether calls to police and/or emergency hotlines varied in 2020 as people stayed home due to COVID‐19. Across this sample, we estimate there were approximately 1030 more calls to police and 1671 more calls to emergency hotlines than would have occurred absent the pandemic. Policy Implications: Interagency data sharing and analysis holds great promise for better understanding localized trends in DV in real time. Research‐practitioner partnerships can help DV coordinated community response teams (CCRTs) develop accessible and sustainable dashboards to visualize data and advance community transparency. As calls for drastic changes in policing are realized, prioritization of finite resources will become critical. Data‐driven decision‐making by CCRTs provides an opportunity to work within resource constraints without compromising the safety of DV victims.
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Several of the largest U.S. police departments reported a sharp increase in officer resignations following massive public protests directed at policing in the summer of 2020. Yet, to date, no study has rigorously assessed the impact of the George Floyd protests on police resignations. We fill this void using 60 months of employment data from a large police department in the western United States. Bayesian structural time‐series modeling shows that voluntary resignations increased by 279% relative to the synthetic control, and the model predicts that resignations will continue at an elevated level. However, retirements and involuntary separations were not significantly affected during the study period. A retention crisis may diminish police departments’ operational capacity to carry out their expected responsibilities. Criminal justice stakeholders must be prepared to confront workforce decline and increased voluntary turnover. Proactive efforts to improve organizational justice for sworn personnel can moderate officer perceptions of public hostility.
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Objectives To experimentally evaluate the effects of personal protective equipment (PPE) on participants’ perceptions of police during the COVID-19 pandemic.Methods As part of the experimental paradigm, participants were randomly assigned to read a fictitious news article about the utility of PPE (i.e., pro-PPE, anti-PPE, or neutral), and then rate images of a police officer using different items of PPE (i.e., masks, goggles, face shields, and/or medical gloves) along eight dimensions.ResultsThe analyses reveal that participants overwhelmingly perceived the use of PPE as both important and beneficial, regardless of condition. The analyses also reveal that the use of PPE impacted perceptions of the pictured officer, but that the specific perceptual effects of such PPE varied by the item used.Conclusions Police worldwide have attempted to reduce the risks associated with COVID-19 by using PPE. In addition to functional benefits, many items of PPE also present perceptual benefits.
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Background Vaccines are needed to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) and to protect persons who are at high risk for complications. The mRNA-1273 vaccine is a lipid nanoparticle–encapsulated mRNA-based vaccine that encodes the prefusion stabilized full-length spike protein of the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), the virus that causes Covid-19. Methods This phase 3 randomized, observer-blinded, placebo-controlled trial was conducted at 99 centers across the United States. Persons at high risk for SARS-CoV-2 infection or its complications were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive two intramuscular injections of mRNA-1273 (100 μg) or placebo 28 days apart. The primary end point was prevention of Covid-19 illness with onset at least 14 days after the second injection in participants who had not previously been infected with SARS-CoV-2. Results Download a PDF of the Research Summary. The trial enrolled 30,420 volunteers who were randomly assigned in a 1:1 ratio to receive either vaccine or placebo (15,210 participants in each group). More than 96% of participants received both injections, and 2.2% had evidence (serologic, virologic, or both) of SARS-CoV-2 infection at baseline. Symptomatic Covid-19 illness was confirmed in 185 participants in the placebo group (56.5 per 1000 person-years; 95% confidence interval [CI], 48.7 to 65.3) and in 11 participants in the mRNA-1273 group (3.3 per 1000 person-years; 95% CI, 1.7 to 6.0); vaccine efficacy was 94.1% (95% CI, 89.3 to 96.8%; P<0.001). Efficacy was similar across key secondary analyses, including assessment 14 days after the first dose, analyses that included participants who had evidence of SARS-CoV-2 infection at baseline, and analyses in participants 65 years of age or older. Severe Covid-19 occurred in 30 participants, with one fatality; all 30 were in the placebo group. Moderate, transient reactogenicity after vaccination occurred more frequently in the mRNA-1273 group. Serious adverse events were rare, and the incidence was similar in the two groups. Conclusions The mRNA-1273 vaccine showed 94.1% efficacy at preventing Covid-19 illness, including severe disease. Aside from transient local and systemic reactions, no safety concerns were identified. (Funded by the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases; COVE ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04470427.)
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Background Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) infection and the resulting coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) have afflicted tens of millions of people in a worldwide pandemic. Safe and effective vaccines are needed urgently. Methods Download a PDF of the Research Summary. In an ongoing multinational, placebo-controlled, observer-blinded, pivotal efficacy trial, we randomly assigned persons 16 years of age or older in a 1:1 ratio to receive two doses, 21 days apart, of either placebo or the BNT162b2 vaccine candidate (30 μg per dose). BNT162b2 is a lipid nanoparticle–formulated, nucleoside-modified RNA vaccine that encodes a prefusion stabilized, membrane-anchored SARS-CoV-2 full-length spike protein. The primary end points were efficacy of the vaccine against laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 and safety. Results A total of 43,548 participants underwent randomization, of whom 43,448 received injections: 21,720 with BNT162b2 and 21,728 with placebo. There were 8 cases of Covid-19 with onset at least 7 days after the second dose among participants assigned to receive BNT162b2 and 162 cases among those assigned to placebo; BNT162b2 was 95% effective in preventing Covid-19 (95% credible interval, 90.3 to 97.6). Similar vaccine efficacy (generally 90 to 100%) was observed across subgroups defined by age, sex, race, ethnicity, baseline body-mass index, and the presence of coexisting conditions. Among 10 cases of severe Covid-19 with onset after the first dose, 9 occurred in placebo recipients and 1 in a BNT162b2 recipient. The safety profile of BNT162b2 was characterized by short-term, mild-to-moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue, and headache. The incidence of serious adverse events was low and was similar in the vaccine and placebo groups. Conclusions A two-dose regimen of BNT162b2 conferred 95% protection against Covid-19 in persons 16 years of age or older. Safety over a median of 2 months was similar to that of other viral vaccines. (Funded by BioNTech and Pfizer; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04368728.)
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The COVID-19 pandemic has created a range of unforeseen and unprecedented challenges for police departments worldwide. In light of these challenges, the goal of this review is to understand the potential short- and long-term effects of disasters and public health emergencies on policing organisations and officers. A total of 72 studies were eligible for inclusion, based on their focus on policing and police work during and in the aftermath of natural disasters and public health emergencies. Through an extensive review, we compile and analyse the most common issues and best practices identified in the literature, and discuss ‘what works’ in the context of policing such emergencies. The literature reveals four categories of issues predominantly raised in this context, namely police-community relations, the mental health and wellbeing of officers, intra-organisational challenges, as well as inter-agency collaboration and cooperation. Based on our review and analysis, we offer a list of recommendations relevant for policing the current COVID-19 outbreak. The findings of this review have immediate implications for policing during COVID-19 but also cover long-term effects, providing valuable recommendations for after the crises has passed.
Article
The present study employs a quasi-experimental design to evaluate the effects of a mandatory sexual assault kit (SAK) testing policy on rape arrests in a large western US jurisdiction. We use a Bayesian structural time-series model and monthly data on arrests for rape from 2010 through 2019. In the post-implementation period, we observed a downward trend in the arrest rate for rape. Based on the results, the most conservative interpretation of our findings is that the policy implementation did not affect rape arrest rates. While mandatory SAK testing policies are often advocated for based on the belief that they will increase arrest rates for sexual assault (among other proposed benefits), we add to growing empirical evidence that policy interventions beyond mandatory SAK testing are needed to increase arrest rates for sexual assault. Jurisdictions that currently use mandatory SAK testing policies are encouraged to assess stakeholders' experiences to proactively address resource allocation, consider other policies that may increase accountability for sexual assault offenders, and utilize victim service providers to support other measures of success with victims in instances where no arrest is made.
Article
During the COVID‐19 pandemic, police officers have been at the frontline of danger. Their mental health should arouse the attention of society. To test the relationship between the psychological support they received and their stress response, the present study built a moderated mediation model to examine this and the effects of underlying mechanisms. A total of 553 Chinese police officers participated in this study; four scales were measured by standardised questionnaires (Emotional Identity of Profession Scale; DSM‐5 Self‐Rated Level 1 Cross‐Cutting Symptom Measure‐Adult; Psychological Support Scale; Active Work Adaptation Scale). Stress response was negatively correlated with psychological support, emotional identity of profession and active work adaptation. Psychological support, emotional identity of profession and active work adaptation were all positively correlated. Psychological support had a negative direct effect on stress response, and emotional identity of profession's mediating effect was distinct and was moderated by active work adaptation.
Article
We assessed immediate and long-term trends in calls for police service regarding domestic violence following COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Using open data from the Police Data Initiative, we performed interrupted time-series analyses of weekly calls for service for domestic violence in New Orleans (LA), Cincinnati (OH), Seattle (WA), Salt Lake City (UT), Montgomery County (MD), and Phoenix (AZ). Results indicate that five of the six jurisdictions experienced an immediate, significant spike in domestic violence calls for service (Cincinnati being the lone exception). As stay-at-home orders were lifted throughout the remainder of 2020, domestic violence calls for service declined in every jurisdiction but Salt Lake City. These results illustrate (1) the importance of studying the localized effects of COVID-19 on criminal justice issues, (2) the need for more agencies to publish open data in a timely fashion, and (3) the caution researchers and the public must use when working with calls for service data, which are not uniform across agencies and require careful cleaning prior to analysis.
Article
Research Summary We administered a survey experiment to a national sample of 1068 U.S. adults in April 2020 to determine the factors that shape support for various policing tactics in the midst of the COVID‐19 pandemic. Respondents were sharply divided in their views about pandemic policing tactics and were least supportive of policies that might limit public access to officers or reduce crime deterrence. Information about the health risks to officers, but not to inmates, significantly increased support for “precautionary” policing, but not for “social distance” policing. The information effect was modest, but may be larger if the information came from official sources and/or was communicated on multiple occasions. Other factors that are associated with attitudes toward pandemic policing include perceptions of procedural justice, altruistic fear, racial resentment, and authoritarianism. Policy Implications When considered together with other evidence, one clear takeaway from our study is that the public values police patrols and wants officers on call, even during pandemics. Another is that people who believe the police are procedurally just are more willing to trust officers in times of crisis and to empower them to enforce new laws, such as social distancing ordinances. Our results thus support continued procedural justice training for officers. A third takeaway is that agencies must proactively communicate with the public about the risks their officers face when responding to public health crises or natural disasters, in addition to how they propose to mitigate those risks. They must also be amenable to adjusting in response to community feedback.