Mass. Firefighters Union frustrated with COVID-19 vaccine process

SE Mass

ATTLEBORO, Mass. (WPRI) — The Massachusetts’ Firefighters Union is slamming the state’s vaccination efforts, as more than 800 of them are battling COVID-19.

Attleboro Firefighters Local 848 President Paul Jacques said the members are wondering why they haven’t been vaccinated when firefighters respond 365 days a year to all different types of medical emergencies and more.

“Our members are on the front lines everyday of this pandemic, they have been since March and will be into the New Year,” he explained.

Jacques said even though firefighters are in Phase 1, some are frustrated they haven’t received the vaccine yet, especially when they see it being offered to firefighters in neighboring states like Rhode Island and Maine.

“Our members are frustrated not being able to get the vaccine,” he said, “especially when we are seeing other states around New England getting the vaccine.”

The union said Wednesday, 802 firefighters in the state currently have COVID-19, with 650 more in quarantine from exposure.

This includes more than 20 members of the Attleboro Fire Department who have contracted the virus, three of whom were hospitalized.

“The last we heard before the holiday was around the 11th, we are projected to get the vaccine, hopefully that plan stays in place,” Jacques said. “We put in a request to have a seat at the table so we can help with a smooth process.”

A spokesperson for the Commonwealth said they expect to vaccinate first responders starting in mid-January.

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