Skip to content
Riverside County Sheriff Will Not Enforce COVID Vaccine Warrant

As President Biden ramps up his administration’s efforts to demand that Americans get vaccinated, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco has said he will not apply any vaccine warrants to employees in the sheriff’s department.

Describing himself as “the last line of defense against the excesses of the tyrannical government,” Bianco on Monday doubled down on statements he made during a Thursday episode of the department’s podcast, “RSO Roundup,” in which he said he was ‘he thought vaccines were a personal choice.

“The government has no capacity and no authority to impose your health choices,” Bianco said in a statement. “I will not apply the vaccination warrant to employees of the sheriff’s department.”

In July, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a health order requiring state officials to provide proof of vaccination or undergo regular COVID-19 testing. Some counties, including Los Angeles, have gone further by requiring vaccines for city workers – a move that has already sparked legal action from some members of the Los Angeles Police Department.

Riverside County has not issued formal guidelines on vaccination requirements for its employees. A county spokesperson did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Tuesday.

But Bianco, who contracted and recovered from COVID-19 earlier this year, has long been a vocal opponent of mandatory vaccinations and other pandemic policies. Last year, he called the stay-at-home orders “ridiculous” and told The Times there were differing opinions on the benefits of masks and social distancing.

In last week’s podcast, he questioned the vaccine’s effectiveness and said that natural immunity to COVID-19 offers “a lot more” of protection than injections.

“There is absolutely nothing in my podcast that was incorrect or irresponsible,” he said on Monday, adding, “I am definitely not anti-vaccine. I am anti-vaccine for me.

Bianco said he did not know how many MPs had been vaccinated, but noted that at least 1,500 have tested positive for COVID-19. At least two Riverside County Sheriff’s deputies have died.

Biden, Newsom and other government and public health officials have stressed the importance of vaccinations as a way out of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seen a resurgence in recent months as the highly transmissible Delta variant tears apart unvaccinated communities.

The country now averages over 1,000 COVID-19 deaths a day, with Biden saying “our patience is running out.”

“A distinct minority of Americans, supported by a distinct minority of elected officials, keeps us from turning the page,” Biden said. “We cannot allow these actions to obstruct the protection of the vast majority of Americans who have done their part and want to return to normal lives.”

Riverside County recorded an average of 675 new COVID-19 cases and 11 deaths per day over the past week, according to the Times tracker.

About 57% of Riverside County residents have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, compared to about 66% of state residents.