Firefighters among 1st to get COVID-19 vaccine in Alameda County

ALAMEDA, Calif. (KGO) -- Alameda County received more than 13,000 doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine on Saturday. Among the first to get vaccinated were 911 first responders.

Brian Centoni has been an Alameda County firefighter for 18 years.

"We are out in a lot of calls with the community and the benefit vs. the risk outweighs a lot of it," said Centoni.

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Centoni is trained and equipped to face a wall of flames, but not an invisible virus.

"I felt a little bit guilty getting the vaccine yesterday because I wished I could've given my dose to my father who is 69 years old, but then again I knew that if I got the vaccine I'll be able to help someone else family member," said Centoni.

Based on the 2019 to 2020 data, Alameda County firefighters responded to more than 29,000 emergency calls.

How many will get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in the upcoming weeks? "The Alameda County fire department, we have approximately just under 350 personnel that will be eligible," explained Joanna Leal, Alameda County Fire Department public information officer.

2,000 first responders were vaccinated on Friday.

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Alameda County has a total of 13,650 doses of the Pfizer COVID- 19 vaccine.

"There are three different groups that are being vaccinated first in Alameda County. That's our Alameda county 911 paramedics, those firefighters that have a paramedic or an EMT license or certificate and we also have all of our chiefs," said Leal.
Among the first were also police officers and healthcare workers from Alameda County, including Fremont and Hayward.

"Really excited to be one of the few counties in California that is extending this first dose of vaccine to our 911 first responders," said Colleen Chawla, Alameda County Health Care Services Agency's Director

At the end of the day, "if we can stay on the frontlines helping out the community, then it's worth it because we can help other people," said Centoni.

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