Local police, fire departments set to receive COVID-19 vaccine this week

Coronavirus Local Impact

SPRINGFIED, Mass. (WWLP) – After nearly a year serving the public during this pandemic, first responders in Massachusetts will soon get the protection they need to protect us.

COVID-19 has impacted almost all police and fire departments, leaving them short-handed and vulnerable.

“We’ve been dealing with this, just like every other department with members being out each week, with either quarantining or positive exposures,” said Springfield Fire Captain Drew Piemonte. “We’re definitely looking forward to having another level of protection.”

Boland Elementary School is where Springfield firefighters and police officers will begin to get the vaccine on Tuesday. They’ll be getting the Moderna vaccine and the fire department hopes to get all its members the first dose by the end of the week.

Springfield Fire Capt. Drew Piemonte said the vaccines will be administered in the school’s gym, where there will be specific safety procedures in place.

“When we receive the vaccination they have to monitor you for any allergic reactions or anything, so it’s not something as simple as walking out the door,” he told 22News.

“Actually beginning tomorrow, [Monday], January 11 and running for the next 14 days, the Chicopee Fire and Police Department are participating in a regional vaccine program in East Longmeadow,” said Lt. Katie Kalbaugh of the Chicopee Fire Department.

Since it’s the Moderna vaccine, first responders will have to wait 28 days for the second dose. Even after the departments get vaccinated, their PPE protocols won’t change. That’s also because the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory for first responders.

Chicopee Police Chief William Jebb is encouraging all of his officers to receive the vaccine to maintain the same level of service.

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