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Fifty firefighters get Moderna vaccine in first wave of Oregon immunizations

COURTESY PHOTO: GRESHAM FIRE - Gresham firefighters received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine to start the new year. To kick off the new year, about 50 Gresham firefighters will receive doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the first wave of recipients in Oregon.

Because Gresham Fire & Emergency Services is on the frontlines providing emergency medical care to the community, they were prioritized under state guidelines to receive doses of the Moderna vaccine.

"We are excited and grateful to be able to offer this vaccine to our firefighters. They have done an outstanding job this last year handling the changing dynamics of delivering emergency care under strict COVID-19 restrictions that were implemented to protect them and the public," said Gresham Fire Chief Mitch Snyder. "Our firefighters have demonstrated a sincere level of dedication to public service, and witnessing the work they do every day has been inspiring and a testament to their high level of professionalism."

The first doses were administered Thursday, Dec. 31, and the plan is to vaccinate half of the firefighters through the first two weeks of the new year. Gresham Fire also is working with Multnomah County to coordinate distribution of vaccinations to Corbett Fire.

The city will receive about 100 initial doses, and the two shots per person will be spread out over a month. As the vaccine becomes more readily available and per state guidance, Gresham Fire also plans on administering the vaccine to Gresham police officers.

Multnomah County Health officials authorized Battalion Chief Josh Butler and Capt. Jay Cross to administer the vaccines to their peers. Both have spearheaded Gresham Fire's efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 this year and have received special training from the Oregon Health Authority.

Because many in the community will have to wait for a vaccine, Gresham Fire will continue to wear protective gear and take precautions to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

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