POCATELLO, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - As states start to role out plans for their Covid-19 vaccine distribution, there are pleas for who should be first priority.
Along with several other organizations representing fire fighters, the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) is asking state and local government to prioritize first responders for the vaccine distribution.
Pocatello Firefighters IAFF Local 187 president, Andy Moldenhauer, said he supports the push to protect firefighters. Like many jurisdictions across the country, Pocatello firefighters are also EMTs and paramedics.
“We run about 8,000 calls a year, and probably 90% of those are EMS,” Moldenhauer said.
To try to protect our first responders from contracting the virus, Moldenhauer said crews have been masking up since the start of the pandemic.
"Along with ensuring that the proper PPE is available, priority access to a vaccine allows emergency responders to have another tool to protect themselves and the community as a whole," Tim Burn, the press secretary for the IAFF said in a press release.
The job of an EMT often requires close interaction with people in their homes or in ambulances. Scientific reports show first responders are far more likely to contract the coronavirus because of the high-risk exposures.
To ensure the first link in the Covid-19 response chain is safe, the IAFF believes firefighters, EMTs and paramedics should be part of the first tier of people who get the vaccine.