MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - The first members of Montgomery Fire/Rescue received the COVID-19 vaccine Monday, and immunizations will continue for others this week.
Fire officials say one in five Montgomery firefighters has contracted COVID-19.
“We’ve had an increase in run volume, we’ve had an increase in stress in what our guys have had to deal with,” said Montgomery Infectious Control Officer Chief Craig Carr.
Carr hopes the Pfizer vaccine will be the light at the end of the tunnel.
Fifteen percent of the approximately 4,000 doses in the initial round of vaccine doses Baptist Health received were reserved for emergency medical services personnel.
“That was just the initial roll out. The Pfizer vaccine got here first and the Moderna vaccine is right behind it, so I do not believe there is going to be a shortage of vaccine for those who want to be vaccinated,” Carr said.
Montgomery firefighters can start scheduling appointments to get vaccinated this week. The vaccine isn’t required, but Carr says its important the firefighters do their own research before beginning the process.
“We want each one of our guys to take a risk benefit analysis for themselves, but for not only them, but vulnerable members of their family and citizens they respond to we want to make sure we have a healthy and able to respond firefighter, but each guy must take that and make that decision for themselves,” Carr said.
Thanks to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Montgomery Fire/Rescue has been able to do its own COVID-19 testing.
Carr says this has allowed them to do contact tracing to identify who has the virus and to stop the spread.