WINNEBAGO COUNTY, Ill. (WIFR) – With two COVID-19 vaccines approved for emergency use by the FDA, many are wondering when they will receive the two shots.

“The firefighters and paramedics that were here we’re excited to get the vaccine,” Emergency Preparedness Coordinator at SwedishAmerican Steven Kirschbaum said.

“The shot is just another layer of protection for us,” Win-Bur-Sew Fire Chief Dave Loria said.

The vaccine creates an added layer of protection to the frontline, while also providing those vaccinated some mental stability.

“For me personally and for our guys here I think the vaccine is huge it’s a big step forward,” Loria said.

Loria says about 33% of his staff got their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine. With some emergency staff receiving shots focus shifts to what groups will qualify for the vaccine next.

“I think we think of the hospital first, it’s kind of easy to define,” Winnebago County Public Health Administrator Dr. Sandra Martell said. “Then you start coming out of those hospital walls, our goal was to try and get those who are most at risk for exposure as soon as possible.”

Martell says the vaccination process does pose some challenges mainly when people ask about a timeline.

“We will do everything in our power not to waste a dose of vaccine,” Martell said. “We’re going to vaccinate and move to our phases as quickly as possible and bring in the phases, sometimes it may seem out of sequence.”

Martell says the CDC recommends, people over 75, and those with jobs in critical infrastructure like police officers, as the next groups to receive the COVID-19 vaccine but adds the situation could change at any moment.

“All of us have been committed from the federal level on down to the lens of equity making sure that those populations that were disproportionately impacted have access to early vaccination,” Martell said.

Copyright 2021 WIFR. All rights reserved.

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