WORCESTER, MASS. (WHDH) - Massachusetts firefighters are pushing to find out when they can get the COVID-19 vaccine after hundreds of union members tested positive for the virus just this month.
Nearly 350 members of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts reportedly contracted the coronavirus in December.
PFFM Secretary-Treasurer Bill Cabral says there’s no clear timeline for when they will get vaccinated.
“We should be at the top of the numbers for vaccine but there’s no plan in place right now,” he said. “It’s really troublesome.”
PFFM is made up of many EMTs and paramedics who treat coronavirus patients.
Cabral says the state is leaving the vaccinations of first responders up to the local boards of health but that they’re “structurally not prepared to execute this plan.”
Dozens of state legislators reiterated this concern Wednesday in a letter addressed to Gov. Charlie Baker and Health and Human Services Secretary Marylou Sudders.
“I fear this could be extremely burdensome to those local boards, all of whom have already been forced to take on extraordinary responsibilities throughout the past ten months. Respectfully, I feel this plan has structural weaknesses that could lead to confusion and delay,” State Rep. Harold P. Naughton, Jr. wrote in the letter signed by dozens of others.
They are calling for Baker and Sudders to create a regionalized plan to distribute and administer the vaccine to public safety personnel.
The firefighters union and local legislators are not the only critics of the vaccine rollout.
President-elect Joe Biden said Tuesday, “The Trump administration’s plan to distribute vaccines is falling behind, far behind.”
The goal of Operation Warp Speed was to get the COVID-19 vaccine into the arms of 20 million Americans by the end of the year; however, just over two million Americans have been vaccinated so far.
Washington Post contributing columnist Dr. Leana Wen said that at the current rate of vaccinations, “it will take the U.S. 10 years to inoculate 80% of Americans.”
Biden says he has “directed my team to prepare a much more aggressive effort with more federal involvement and leadership to get things back on track.”
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