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Andy Nguyen
By Andy Nguyen November 1, 2021

No, the National Guard isn’t replacing a city’s unvaccinated police officers

If Your Time is short

  • Police officers across the United States are refusing to get the COVID-19 vaccine even as the virus has become the leading cause of death for members of law enforcement.
  • Some officers have sued their cities over vaccine mandates and, in some cases, resigned their positions rather than get vaccinated. 
  • No state has brought in the National Guard to replace a city’s unvaccinated officers, but Illinois’ governor has offered to do so for Chicago.

Cities across the United States have implemented vaccine mandates for public employees as a means to help control the spread of COVID-19. But one group of public workers has continuously fought against such mandates — law enforcement officers.

Scores of law enforcement personnel across the country have resisted calls to take the vaccine, even as COVID-19 has become the leading cause of death among officers. This resistance led some in law enforcement to sue their cities over the vaccine requirements and, in some cases, to resign.

One Instagram post purports to show a screenshot from a news article that claimed the National Guard will be brought in to replace officers who do not get the COVID-19 vaccine.

The screenshot is of the article's headline, "National Guard to fill in for cops who refuse to get vaccinated," and appears to be written by Joshua Rhett Miller and published on Oct. 20.

A photo of what appears to be a group of National Guard troops wearing face-coverings and walking through Times Square in New York City is included with the screenshot.  

The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. Instagram is owned by Facebook. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

Although the writer named in the screenshot is a reporter for the New York Post, not much else is true.

The article featured in the screenshot does not appear to exist when looking through pieces written by Miller for the Post. Miller did not respond to PolitiFact’s request for comment.

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An internet search only turned up results of other social media accounts sharing the same screenshot featured in the post. The headline itself is vague and doesn’t include any specific information like which state is deploying its National Guard and where.

The photo used in the screenshot is from the news agency Reuters, and features members of the New York State Army National Guard being deployed in the state during the outset of the pandemic on April 20, 2020.

There have not been any instances of a state’s National Guard mobilizing to replace a city’s law enforcement officers because of a COVID-19 vaccine mandate.

The closest has been Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who offered to marshal state resources, including the National Guard, to help the city of Chicago as the police union urged its members to not get vaccinated. Chicago officials have yet to accept Pritzker’s offer.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul also outlined a plan where medically trained troops of the state’s National Guard could be brought in to take over for hospital employees who violate the state's vaccine mandate for healthcare workers. It has yet to be implemented.

Our ruling

An Instagram post shared the headline of a supposed news article that claims National Guard troops will replace law enforcement officers who refuse to get the COVID-19 vaccine. The headline itself is vague and the post did not offer any additional details.

The author of the article appears to have never written the piece and an internet search of the headline only offers up social media posts similar to the one on Instagram.

To date, no state has actually sent in its National Guard troops to replace unvaccinated law enforcement officers.

We rate this claim False.

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No, the National Guard isn’t replacing a city’s unvaccinated police officers

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