More than 1,000 doses of the vaccine arrive for firefighters and other workers.

COURTESY PHOTO: TVF&R - Paramedic Megan Rye, who serves the Newberg area, was the department's first vaccine recipient.

On Wednesday, Dec. 30, Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue received 1,000 doses of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine from the Oregon Health Authority, kicking off a round of vaccinations for its workers as they continue to serve the community on the front lines.

"In preparation for the vaccine's arrival, TVF&R's vaccine branch of their COVID-19 task force has been working with public health partners over the past month 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," a release from TVF&R said.

Vaccinations began on Sunday, Jan. 3, for TVF&R's front-line personnel. Firefighters and paramedics will continue to receive their first doses of the vaccine in the coming weeks, with the second dose coming a few weeks later to complete their vaccination schedule. TVF&R will also use some of its vaccines, with the help of its healthcare partners, to vaccinate law enforcement partners and other essential workers in city and county governments.

Paramedic Megan Rye, who serves the Newberg area, was the department's first vaccine recipient, according to a release. She has worked as a paramedic since 2007 and joined TVF&R three years ago.

"I feel great," she said in the release. "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, who also serves the Newberg area, expressed relief about having been vaccinated.

"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. We keep six feet of distance and are taking every precaution as if we didn't have the vaccine."

TVF&R's Fire Chief Deric Weiss said he was excited about the start of vaccinations, an important step for the community and state at large in combatting this pandemic. Essential workers are first on the priority list in terms of vaccinations.

"This is a long time coming," Weiss said. "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 is a good day."

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