‘Ready When They Are': Firefighters, EMTs Frustrated by Mass. Vaccine Plan

Some firefighters and EMTs in Massachusetts are voicing their frustrations with what they say is a lack of a vaccine plan from the state

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There is growing frustration from firefighters and EMTs in Massachusetts with what they're calling a lack of a vaccine plan from the state.

Tom Henderson is the EMT director with the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, which represents thousands of firefighters and EMTs in Massachusetts.

"The EMS and fire community are getting frustrated and raising their voices on this," he said. "We see hospital staff and employees getting the vaccine and we know we should be not far behind them after the long-term care facilities, and there seems to be no plan at this point."

This week alone, Henderson says, 112 firefighters across the state tested positive. In total, 637 members are in quarantine, the most since the pandemic started.

Lt. Mike Murphy is on the frontline with the Newton Fire Department.

"We realize there are priorities. I'm ready when they are," Murphy said. "It's a frontline thing. We're exposed to medical emergencies maybe 10 times a day."

"It's a balancing act," said Henderson. "They want to go out and serve the public and protect the public and make sure they get the appropriate care, but also, they worry about their own personal health and the health of their families."

Henderson says they want to be involved in the planning, as well.

"We're concerned, also, that we haven't been involved in any of the planning process," he said. "We can't have an essentially one-size-fits-all for our communities."

He says not every town or city is the same, and the vaccine rollouts may be different.

"The people that we normally talk to, we can't get answers from, and we try to keep on moving it up the chain, and we keep on reaching roadblocks," he said.

NBC10 Boston has reached out to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health by email for comment, but had not heard back as of Tuesday night.

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