Safety first as GVPD officers begin to receive COVID-19 vaccine


Courtesy to BBC

Adam Trombley

The Grand Valley Police Department is responsible for keeping the members of the community safe when it comes to crime and other incidents. However, in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, part of their responsibility has included keeping themselves and others safe from the contagious virus. These first responders have begun taking the Covid-19 vaccine in hopes to help stop the spread on GVSU’s campus and in the Ottawa County area.

“I’m looking forward to taking the second dose,” said GVPD Capt. Jeffrey Stoll as he was preparing to receive the second round of the vaccine that day.

GVPD officers are a part of the groups who have been made eligible to receive the vaccine in the state of Michigan, and although some of them have already received the vaccine, they will still be implementing social distancing and wearing masks in order to slow the spread down. Gradually, the introduction of the vaccines will help bring things back to normal for the department, but many of the practices and things they do will look the same as they did last semester.

“I think the thing that changes is it probably limits the amount of off-time we will have from officers who maybe would have been in quarantine or maybe would have to get tested,” said Stoll.

Stoll has commended the Ottawa County Health Department on its ability to set up and distribute the vaccine in a reasonable amount of time. GVSU’s Holland campus has been used to distribute the vaccine to the department’s officers.

The vaccine looks like a light at the end of the tunnel in fighting this pandemic, and although it will not totally get rid of the virus, it is bringing hope to many people. Stoll says that from a mental standpoint, receiving the vaccine made him feel great because it allowed him to help limit the spread. 

“It limits my likelihood of getting sick and I know it’s not zero, but it’s greatly reduced and that extends to protecting my family,” Stoll said. “I don’t get sick, so my family doesn’t get sick. It protects my coworkers, and ultimately at Grand Valley, we are able to maintain a high level of continuous operation.”

With different companies producing the vaccine, it has led many to wonder about possible side effects from receiving it. Stoll said he felt fine after his first round of receiving the vaccine and that he is willing to take the risk of feeling sick for a day or two in exchange for the added protection of the virus. 

Eventually, when the vaccine is able to be distributed to more groups of people, Stoll doesn’t believe the department will help in the distribution of it when it is made available to the students and staff at GVSU. 

The pandemic has been challenging for a lot of people and it will continue to play a role in the way we live, but if the vaccination of our police department and other first responders teaches us one thing, it is that there is hope.