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Spokane first responders start getting vaccinated for COVID-19 at drive-thru clinic

The clinic is only open to high-risk first responders, following Washington State Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccination guidance.

SPOKANE, Wash — The Spokane Regional Health District started administering the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine to first responders at a drive-thru clinic at the Spokane Fire Training Center on Monday, Jan. 4.

The clinic is only open to high-risk first responders, following the Washington State Department of Health's COVID-19 vaccination guidance, according to the health district. 

The Spokane County EMS and Trauma Care Council will train EMS personnel on the vaccine’s administration process, while also ensuring the high-risk group receives the vaccine, the health district says.

In a press release, the health district said a trial-run of the clinic was performed on Wednesday, Dec. 30. Tom Chavez with Spokane County Fire District 8 and Kasey Austin with the Spokane Fire Department received the first doses during the trial-run, the health district said.

Chavez said he felt relieved to get vaccinated.

"I felt a little bit of relief, knowing that I'm going to be protected pretty close to the near future," he said "And then I'm going to protect my family, eventually they'll get it, we'll all be protected. And I think that sense of relief is something I have not felt in the past nine months." 

Over the next 10 days, an estimated 3,000 EMS personnel will get vaccinated.

“It’s important to the health of our entire community that our first responders are able to help those in need without risking their own health and well-being,” said Dr. Francisco Velazquez, interim health officer for Spokane County, in a press release. “Transitioning vaccinations from high-risk health care providers to first responders is a huge step in our COVID-19 vaccination process.”