It’s not mandatory, but strongly encouraged.
Frederick, Md (KM) Vaccinations of Frederick County volunteer and career fire fighters and EMT’s against COVID-19 are expected to begin very soon. Tom Coe, Chief of the County’s Division of Fire and Rescue Services, say the agency has been working with the local Health Department to vaccinate paramedics against the coronavirus so they can administer the shot to other fire and rescue personnel.
“We’ve now scheduled the remaining vaccination distribution for our first responder population to include all of our career and volunteer emergency responders to occur the second week in January,” he says.
Chief Coe says getting vaccinated is not mandatory, but strongly encouraged. :”And hopefully over a six-day period the second week of January, we’ll be able to vaccinated up to 1300 first responders,” he says.
With reports of some states experiencing shortages of the vaccine, Chief Coe says he’s confident there will be enough locally to cover the county’s fire and rescue personnel who want the shots. “There is a limited amount of vaccinations available,” he says. “But we’re confident working with the Health Department that we’ll be able to target our operational responders sufficiently the week of January 11th.”
In emphasizing the importance of this vaccination, Chief Coe says local EMT”s have encountered patients with COVID-19 while answering emergency calls. “Since the start of the pandemic, our EMT units have transported nearly 600 COVID-positive patients to the hospital,” he said. “So we experience interaction with COVID-positive citizens on a daily basis, and continue to take precautions on every response that we make.”
He says that includes Emergency Communications dispatchers asking screening questions from callers in need of service. Also, Coe says there is an adequate supply of personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and gowns.
In addition, he says some fire and rescue personnel have contracted the coronavirus. “So far 50 have tested positive for COVID-19. But the overwhelming majority of those personnel have all been from off-duty contact and not from incident response.” Out of that number, he says, 17 are still recovering from the virus.
There are also contingency plans in place in case if more fire and rescue personnel come down with COVID-19, Coe says.
By Kevin McManus