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Local first responders start to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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Several first responders in Riverside County including some of our own from the valley received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine Thursday.

News Channel 3’s Dani Romero has more on what the vaccine means to those on the frontlines. 

This is the day Brandon Wright from Palm Springs Fire has been waiting for. 

“I feel super fortunate and blessed to be the first ones to get this," said Wright.

Wright believes the vaccine is a critical layer of defense against catching or potentially spreading the virus to patients. 

“Responders are mostly likely to be around it. so its fortunate that we are getting the protection we need in order to do our job," said Wright.

Firefighters, EMT's and paramedics have been on the frontlines since the pandemic began. They are constantly exposed to people who are sick. Many of them putting their lives at risk. 

“It is everywhere out there, and it is so dangerous for our folks and it will be really meaningful that our people can be protected so that they don't have to stay home because they're sick," said Tim Strack, captain with city of Riverside Fire Department.

Ronald Skyberg from Palm Springs Fire didn’t hesitate to roll up his sleeve.

“I have a heart history so knowing that this illness won’t necessary affect my heart now that I do have the vaccine," said Skyberg. "I feel more protected. I just hope others do the same.” 

And as for how it felt to get it. 

“It felt good," said Skyberg. "It was easy like a knife and butter.” 

Even though these vaccinations are a positive step, firefighters said its important to do your homework on the vaccine. 

“Don’t give in to misinformation and do your diligence so you can stay educated," said Wright.

Meanwhile, the number of COVID cases in Riverside County continues to rise. it is taking a toll on the first responders

“But as we're seeing this progress, the people are getting sicker and sicker and sicker," said Strack. "So it's a rough time, but our members and all firefighters in California, we haven't missed a beat.” 

These first responders continue to treat patients with COVID-19, they're urging the public to do their part by wearing face masks, social distancing and staying home. 

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Dani Romero

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