60 San Francisco firefighters test positive for COVID-19, city says vaccinations are coming

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. (KGO) -- Alameda County began vaccinating their 911 first responders last Friday and on Monday, and as more counties received the first batch of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, San Francisco firefighters are wondering when they will get vaccinated.

On a daily basis, San Francisco firefighters are seeing an increase of COVID-19 related response calls, according to their union.

We have "60 members that are positive with COVID, 29 in quarantine and one right now in the hospital," said Adrienne Sims, Director of San Francisco Local 798.

The union says it's a daunting reality for the 1,700 firefighters as COVID-19 cases surge.

According to the San Francisco firefighters union, this year they responded to 145,000 emergency call and 75 to 80% of those calls were medical related.

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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.

On Friday, Alameda County became one of the first counties to begin vaccinating their first responders.

"I really admire what Alameda County is doing for their people and for the people that live in Alameda. Protecting them and making sure that when a firefighters gets on scene to address an issue going one that that firefighter is protected," said Sims.

In a statement the San Francisco COVID command center responded:

"EMTs and paramedics are in the first phase per the California Department of Public Health allocation guidance. Invitations are being sent to the city's EMTs and paramedics to make appointments to get vaccinated, and vaccinations are starting today.

San Francisco received 12,675 doses of Pfizer last week. We have more than 80,000 healthcare workers in San Francisco. Following the state prioritization plan, we are doing our best to ensure that those healthcare workers that are most at risk of contracting COVID-19 are prioritized, including frontline EMTs and paramedics."

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On Monday, Marin County, Santa Cruz and Contra Costa Counties confirmed they received the Moderna vaccine and will begin scheduling first responders this week.

"Beginning tomorrow (Tuesday), our first responders will start to be vaccinated. Vaccine operations will be for our first responders from Tuesday through Christmas," said Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health.

Dr. Willis confirmed they're projecting to vaccinate 1,500 first responders this week.

Dr. Willis says receiving the first batch of the Moderna vaccine made the process faster because there's more supply and the freezer storage is less than Pfizer's.

"Our first responders and health care workers at the hospitals and skilled nurse facilities staff were all in that tier 1. The highest tier. What has changed is the speed that we can offer them to those groups. We are going to be able to get more product out to cover more people in those groups"

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San Mateo and Santa Clara are expected to receive their first batch of the Moderna vaccine this week and begin vaccinating first responders.

"It's really important that we are protecting ourselves and using the vaccine is like using a tool for us. It helps us do our job better," said Sims.

Police agencies around the country believe one or more of the vaccines will be available for their members next month. That's according to a survey of nearly 200 departments.

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