SWFL first responders second in line for vaccine

Now that a COVID-19 vaccine seems close to release, first responders are fighting to be among the first to get injected.

The current recommendation is that health care workers and long-term care facilities will get the first round of the vaccine. After that, it will go to other essential workers, like firefighters and other first responders.

“So what we see around the country, and more so in the state of Florida, is that we’re seeing the hospitals at maximum capacity,” said Alejandro Perez-Trepicho, chief medical officer for Millennium Physician Group. “This will create a significant risk for those who have to take care, and let’s not forget that there is not enough [of an] amount of personnel in the ICU, otherwise, that can take care of patients, so we need to start there.”

Pete DiMaria, chief of the Naples Fire Department, says he understands why the vaccine needs to be administered in phases. While he wants the vaccine for his men and women, he also believes health care workers should be a priority.

“We lost a member of our department to COVID[-19],” DiMaria said. “We just feel like we are here to support our community and to make sure that we take care of our community. We provide the service that is needed and we know how important it is to get this to those health care workers that took care of one of our own—the vaccine, as soon as possible, so that they can be safe as they take care of others.”

While these phases are recommended, the final decision rests with governors of each state who are also consulting with health care officials.

Reporter:Nicole Lauren
Writer:Joey Pellegrino
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