Thousands of first responders and healthcare workers get vaccinated with the help of TVF&R

Thousands of first responders and healthcare workers get vaccinated with the help of TVF&R

Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue has given its frontline personnel the first dose of COVID-19 vaccine and helped county partners vaccinate thousands of law enforcement officers, healthcare workers, and firefighters from neighboring agencies as of January 22, including the Beaverton Police Department and Washington County Sheriff’s Office. Vaccinations will continue through the coming weeks and months.

“This is a long time coming,” said TVF&R Fire Chief Deric Weiss, on the first day of vaccinations. “For me to see the first few people go through, it’s a culmination of all the hard work by the men and women across the organization. They’re excited and they’re encouraged about the future now. There’s a lot of work ahead, but today’s a good day.”

TVF&R started vaccinating firefighters and paramedics on January 3 at its South Operating Center. In preparation for the vaccine’s arrival, TVF&R’s vaccine branch of its COVID-19 task force worked with public health partners to create scalable distribution plans for more than 550 employees, as well as city and county partners to support the vaccination of first responders in the Group 1a category established by the state of Oregon.

Paramedic Megan Rye was TVF&R’s first vaccine recipient. She’s been a paramedic since 2007 and joined TVF&R in 2017. “I feel great,” she said. “I’m excited for the opportunity to get it and excited to start protecting our residents. It just provides everyone a little bit of hope in a time that’s not the greatest. I think it will give me a little more confidence when treating patients.”

Paramedic Jesse Gonzalez also feels relieved to be vaccinated, but he’s not letting his guard down. “Having some assurance that we’re protected is a huge deal for us and the community, but we’re still wearing masks inside the stations,” Gonzalez said. “We keep six feet of distance and are taking every precaution as if we didn’t have the vaccine.”

Those receiving the COVID-19 vaccine will return for a second dose about a month from their first vaccination.

These vaccinations are a first step toward blunting the impact of COVID-19 and protecting the communities we serve. As more vaccine doses become available in 2021, TVF&R wants to remind people to remain vigilant by wearing a mask, washing hands, and maintaining physical distancing.

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