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Police and firefighters may soon get COVID-19 vaccine

Published: Jan. 11, 2021 at 10:47 PM CST
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) announced Monday police and firefighters across the state will be able to start getting the COVID-19 vaccine Jan. 18.

Wisconsin DHS announced local health departments can start vaccine Phase 1B on Jan. 18. Though DHS hasn’t clarified who qualifies for the next phase, police and firefighters will be part of the group. Currently, Phase 1A covers mainly health care workers.

“This is the first step into Phase 1B but we don’t have an actual definition for that. So we do still have our priority group, which is Phase 1A,” said Audrey Boerner with the Eau Claire City-County Health Department.

She said the health department is working with local vaccine providers to finish Phase 1A.

She added some police and firefighters may get the vaccine before Phase 1A is finished but the department hasn’t made a decision yet.

Some firefighters have already been vaccinated since EMS personnel are qualify for Phase 1A. All Eau Claire Fire Department firefighters who wanted the vaccine already got at least their first dose according to Deputy Chief Jon Schultz since they’re all considered EMS personnel.

He said firefighters getting vaccinated doesn’t change anything operationally since the vaccine doesn’t prevent people from getting and spreading the virus.

“You still have to be careful, you still have to wear to your mask, we still have to wear our [personal protective equipment] on all calls,” Schultz said.

However, he said being vaccinated does give him peace of mind when going on calls.

“I mean, across the board it will give you a little bit more feeling of protection,” Schultz said.

He also said he wishes all first responders were part of Phase 1A since they regularly interact with people who could have the virus.

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