Spokane area IAFF locals on the front lines in the fight against COVID-19


01/25/21

The fire and EMS community in Spokane County has been active on the frontlines protecting our members during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thinking outside of the box, acquiring PPE when supplies are thin, providing sound and timely advice on best practices – many WSCFF members have worked tirelessly on behalf of all emergency responders. The rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine was no different. WSCFF members in leadership positions in Spokane County worked diligently with partner agencies to formulate a plan, lay out the necessary logistics, and implement a fast and efficient process to vaccinate all pre-hospital EMS care providers within Spokane County.  Last week, after I got off shift, I benefited from the fruits of these labors and received my first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.

The process was well thought out, quick and easy.  The drive through clinic takes reservations for specific time slots via a link through the regional health district.  I made an appointment, drove in, and was greeted by a fire service member who verified I had all my documentation ready and verbally verified two questions:  Had I received any other vaccinations within 14 days, and had I been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the last 90 days?

I proceeded to the vaccination area and was greeted by members of Local 876, Spokane Valley, provided a letter from my employer and a driver’s license, and then moved forward to a waiting peer responder to administer my vaccination. I received my instruction from Spokane Local 29 member Captain Paul Petersen who processed my vaccination certificate and I received the shot from Local 876 member Dan Ward. I drove forward to Local 876 member Ken Witter. Ken gave me an instruction sheet to track my health daily for any side effects, a COVID vaccination card which outlines the date for my second vaccination and a colored laminated card which indicated a waiting period based on past side effects from vaccines. They then moved me to a waiting parking lot in an assigned area.  After 15 minutes, I was free to leave; and I drove home.

I had a little injection site soreness and nothing that kept me from returning to work the next day.  I was immediately notified on my phone and completed my first daily health survey regarding the COVID vaccine side effects, which took about 30 seconds.

I couldn’t be prouder of the great work of our members and all involved agencies in this unprecedented time of need.  They are stepping up to protect all first responders so we can provide care to our communities and start the process of returning to a sense of normalcy. I believe this is a great model for how to do orderly vaccinations of first responders and could potentially be part of a plan to bring mass vaccination to our communities.