Outspoken Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd pushes COVID vaccine after deputy’s death

Deputy Christopher Broadhead died weeks after contracting virus

ORLANDO, Fla. – Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, often outspoken on crime topics, is now speaking out about the COVID-19 vaccine, encouraging others to get the shot after one of his deputies died.

According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Deputy Christopher Broadhead died Monday after a weekslong battle with COVID-19.

[RELATED: Orange County sheriff continues push to get everyone in his department vaccinated]

“This virus is real and it’s deadly, and Christopher is the poster child for how deadly it is. He was only 32,” Judd told WFLA-TV.

Judd said Broadhead, who served as a deputy for a decade, was healthy but did not disclose whether Broadhead had been vaccinated.

A 32-year-old Polk County deputy died from COVID-19 on Monday, according to the sheriff’s office. (WKMG)

[TRENDING: What does full approval of Pfizer jab really mean? | Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

Judd, a known conservative, said he has been vaccinated.

“I encourage everyone to get the vaccination (who is) eligible. My wife and I got the vaccination on Day 1 when we were eligible,” said Judd, who does not support a vaccine mandate.

Judd urged people to listen to their doctors, not politicians, when deciding whether to get the shot.

Orange County Sheriff John Mina issued a frank message with his deputies Wednesday on social media in his continuing effort to urge his department to get vaccinated.

Mina posted a video message on Twitter asking OCSO employees to get vaccinated.

The video message comes three weeks after Orange County Deputy First Class Craig Seijos, 54, died from COVID-19. Law enforcement officers from surrounding Central Florida agencies have also lost deputies and police to the virus in recent weeks.

Anyone interested in getting a COVID-19 vaccine can find a site at this link.

Mina is also offering employees three additional days off if they can show him they are vaccinated.

To keep up with the latest news on the pandemic, subscribe to News 6′s coronavirus newsletter and go to ClickOrlando.com/coronavirus.