The push to protect Los Angeles Fire Department personnel from COVID-19 has ground to a near halt as many firefighters decline to take the vaccine.
Late last year, firefighters were the first city workers given access to the shots. After an initial burst of activity, the number showing up to get the vaccine has plummeted.
This past week, only 143 firefighters visited one of the department’s vaccination centers, according to data released by the city Friday night. So far, 1,944 of the agency’s just under 3,400 members have been inoculated, leaving 4 in 10 vulnerable to the highly infectious coronavirus.
The reluctance of L.A. firefighters adds to the list of healthcare workers in the state who are declining to take the vaccine, a trend that health experts say could have serious public health implications.
Firefighters are on the front lines of the pandemic, with many working as paramedics and emergency medical technicians. More than 830 city firefighters — nearly one-quarter of the force — have tested positive thus far. Two have died, most recently Capt. George Roque, 57, a 22-year veteran.
As part of their work responding to 911 calls and delivering patients to emergency rooms, many firefighters are routinely in contact with sick patients. Regardless of whether they get a shot, they are required to wear protective equipment on the job. Read Full Article >