First Responders, School Nurses Ready to Get Vaccine This Week

The City moved from busted to flush in a few day’s time last week when it came to vaccinating its first responders for COVID-19, with Everett not being on the list to get vaccine for first responders last week and then moving to having a vaccine clinic Tuesday for them at City Hall.

Mayor Carlo DeMaria announced on Friday that the Commonwealth approved Everett’s application to begin offering the COVID vaccine to first responders employed by the City.

“Along with my colleagues State Senator Sal DiDomenico and State Representative Joe McGonagle, the Governor was

receptive to our advocacy and our first responders began receiving the vaccine Tuesday, January 12,” said the mayor. “These first responders have been at the front line protecting our community during the pandemic and I am grateful to be able to offer the vaccine to these individuals as an important sign that Everett is on its way to beating this virus.”

Everett Fire Department Union President Craig Hardy said the Union realized they weren’t on the list to be vaccinated last week and quickly reached out to the city.

“At first, we were left off the list,” he said. “I made some calls and the mayor did well and since then we were able to get the vaccine. It’s credit where credit is due, the mayor, State Sen. Sal DiDomenico, State Rep. Joe McGonagle, Councilors Stephanie Martins and Michael McLaughlin helped in this…I’m not sure what happened with our paperwork, but at the end of the day, we got the vaccine and those who want it will be able to get it.”

McLaughlin said he and Martins were very surprised to see Everett not on the list, and they also alerted everyone they knew as well.

“It was very surprising and alarming that one of the top communities in the Commonwealth that has not been out of the Red category since the beginning of this pandemic somehow would not have been included in the rollout of the state vaccine plan,” said McLaughlin. “Councilor Martins and I started to work with state and local officials to see what could be done to assistant our first responders. Thankfully for the quick actions of Senator DiDomenico and Mayor DeMaria we were able to address this matter head on and come to a quick resolution. It is shocking how this could have happened in the first place but we’re pleased with the outcome for our first responders and their safety in responding to this pandemic.”

Hardy said to get the vaccine, a community had to have a minimum of 200 people signed up. Many communities have collaborated with neighbors to host vaccine clinics. Chelsea, Revere and Winthrop have done just that, and were on the list at first take. They will be vaccinated on Friday in Revere.

Hardy said Everett probably wasn’t on the list because of not having the minimum of 200 people. He said it was good to see the City included School Nurses and civilian public safety employees to get the numbers up, and that the governor approved the plan.

That said, there hasn’t been a huge response from first responders to sign up, Hardy said. He said he would be surprised if 50 percent from the Fire Department signed up, and reports from the Police Department were that even fewer wanted the vaccine now. A similar story played out in Chelsea, where they had low interest at first, but upon some education were able to get it up to 70 percent participation in police and fire.

“At the end of the day it’s everyone’s personal preference,” said Hardy. “I don’t want to get it, but I am going to get it for my mother so she can be more at ease around me…It is a mixed bag. Some people want to wait and think it’s too soon. Others are all for it and are sick of COVID-19 and want to do whatever to get it over with.”

Beginning on Tuesday, January 12, Public Health Nurse Sabrina Firicano and the Everett Health Department in City Hall began providing COVID vaccinations in their offices on the second floor of City Hall to first responders. Vaccines will be provided by the Health Department to first responders Monday-Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Vaccinations will not be provided on Monday holidays when City Hall is closed. The goal is to offer 50 vaccines a day.

Vaccinations will be made available to the City’s first responders only at this time. This includes the City’s firefighters and civilian personnel; the members of the Everett Police Department and its civilian personnel; the dispatchers at E-911; and school nurses.

“While we value all our employees and residents, the vaccine is being offered to these employees first in accordance with the state’s COVID-19 Vaccine Plan,” read a statement from the City. “We are not able to offer vaccinations to members of the general public at this time. It is important to note that first responders who have had COVID-19 are eligible and encouraged to be vaccinated. There is no waiting period after having COVID-19 to get your vaccine.”

The City will be receiving the vaccine made by Moderna. The vaccine will be included in vials that contain 10 doses. Once a vial is pierced, all vaccinations from that vial must be given within six hours.

“Our thanks in advance goes to Sabrina, Caitlin, Rana Wehbe, and Joanne Agnes in the Health Department for all their hard-work and assistance to make this process possible,” read the City’s statement. “Thank you also to all our first responders for your service over this past year. The Mayor hopes this vaccine helps to keep you safe in your service to our City.”

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