ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – About 200 Orange County paramedics and EMTs received their first dose of Moderna’s Covid-19 vaccine at the Orange County Convention Center Saturday. The vaccines are the first to be distributed by the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. This following the administration of the Pfizer vaccine to health care workers at AdventHealth.
“It’s a major turn in the shift of the pandemic,” said Kent Donahue, spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health in Orange County. “Now we can take the offense and fight this virus.”
The administration of the vaccine comes after Orange County received 16,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine in a shipment last week. Donahue says as hospitals begin to administer the vaccine to healthcare workers and major pharmacies will soon do so for long term care facilities, the county health department will use their shipments for paramedics and on Monday will release a plan on how they plan to administer the vaccine to those 65 or older in Orange County.
Today Chief Barksdale and firefighters received the first of two COVID-19 vaccinations. We are thankful to receive additional protection against the virus and for all who are taking this important precaution as it’s made available. This is critical to help protect our community. pic.twitter.com/N4Dc2iLKr6— Orlando Fire Dept (@OrlandoFireDept) December 26, 2020
“There is over 1 million people in the community we are planning through the process so we’ve been planning for months now,” Donahue added.
At the convention center, paramedics are required to pre-register to get the vaccine and they will be administered through New Year’s Eve, according to Donahue.
City of Orlando Fire Lieutenant Corey Walker received the vaccine Saturday after not only getting Covid-19, but seeing his wife not have any severe reaction when she got the vaccine as a nurse with the Department of Health.
“She had mild symptoms, a low-grade fever but that is it,” Lt. Walker said. “It’s nerve-racking, we never know what’s going to come when going into someone’s home. I feel hopeful for everyone, that this should be a good thing for us.”
Like the Pfizer vaccine, Moderna requires a second dose after 28 days. Paramedics and EMTs will have to come back for their second dose in order for the vaccine to be fully-effective health leaders say.