International Association of Fire Fighters requests priority COVID-19 vaccine access for those on front lines

Coronavirus

GLENDALE, CALIFORNIA – APRIL 16: Firefighters wear face masks as they stand and pay tribute to healthcare workers during a shift change at Glendale Memorial Hospital amid the coronavirus pandemic on April 16, 2020 in Glendale, California. Frontline healthcare workers are receiving tributes from police and fire departments across the country as the spread of COVID-19 continues. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WCBD) – The International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) penned a letter to the nation’s governors requesting fire fighters and emergency medical personnel on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 be among those given priority access to a vaccine once it is available.

According to the IAFF, over 30,000 fire fighters have been exposed to COVID-19 in the line of duty. At least 19 have died.

The IAFF maintains that “adequately vaccinating fire fighters and emergency medical responders will… allow such personnel to continue serving their communities during this medical crisis,” as “the virus not only places the lives and health of responders at risk, it also poses a risk to the larger community as well.”

Failing to include fire fighters and emergency medical personnel in the group that receives priority vaccines would “[impose] significant costs on local governments as they backfill positions or operate understaffed, increasing response times and negatively impacting public safety.”

As vaccines near approval and governors finalize distribution plans, the IAFF is imploring that those serving the community throughout the pandemic not be overlooked.

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