First Responders Get COVID-19 Vaccine In Branford Wednesday

Ellyn Santiago

BRANFORD, CT — First responders from Branford, North Branford and East Haven risk their lives to save the lives of others. Wednesday, nearly 100 firefighters and EMTs got the COVID-19 vaccine, the first of two doses, at Branford High School. So they can go back out there and save lives while keeping themselves safe.

Thirty-five members of the East Haven Fire Department got their first of the required two doses of the Moderna vaccine.

A relief for East Haven fire chief Matt Marcarelli.

“One of my biggest worries throughout the pandemic so far has been personnel getting sick. During the first wave nobody became ill, but the second wave hit the department pretty hard,” he said.

“The vaccine is a relief on a number of levels, coupled with the PPE we have we’ll be able to ensure that we are able to respond uninterrupted," Marcarelli said. "It’s my hope that soon after essential workers are done, vulnerable populations and everyone else will begin getting the vaccine also and the fire department will be there to assist the health district in any way.”

On Christmas Eve, East Haven Mayor Joseph A. Carfora met with East Shore District Health to talk about the vaccine rollout, he said.

“The vaccines are an important tool against COVID,” he said while encouraging people to get a flu shot and continue to follow public health guidelines.”

East Shore District Health, which serves East Haven, Branford and North Branford, also partnered with Madison and Guilford health departments to do the vaccine clinics for EMS and first responders. On Tuesday, Guildford and Madison firefighters and EMT’s got the vaccine at Madison’s Town Gym. Wednesday, East Haven, Branford and North Branford firefighters were vaccinated at BHS.

East Shore health department staff nurses and medical reserve corps, medically trained volunteers, administered the vaccinations.

"This is the most promising step forward, to date, in protecting our community through this pandemic," East Shore health director Michael Pascucilla said. "Our top-notch staff and the staff of other health departments across the state will be working to distribute vaccine as planned by the State Department of Public Health."

Connecticut is currently in Phase 1a of vaccine distribution. This phase includes healthcare personnel, long-term care residents and first responders at risk of exposure to Covid-19 such as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs), police and fire.

The health departments' goal is for all residents to have access to the vaccination, although this will likely not occur until late spring or early summer 2021, Pascucilla said.

"Meanwhile, we must remain diligent in following guidelines to slow the spread of the virus." he said.

These measures will help protect our community against a widespread outbreak:
• Wear a mask over your nose and mouth when out in public.
• Adhere to a minimum 6-foot social distancing from others
• Avoiding close contact with people who are sick.
• Quarantine for at least 10 days if you are in contact with someone who is sick or has tested positive for Covid-19
• Stay home if you are sick except to get medical care.
• Wash your hands with soap and water frequently and for at least 20 seconds.

This article originally appeared on the Branford Patch