OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) - First responders are among the first to get the coronavirus vaccine. Since March, the Omaha Fire Department had 239 firefighters test positive for the virus.
It's at the Omaha Firefighters Union Hall that firefighters are getting that much-needed dose of hope after this long pandemic.
Assistant Chief Kathy Bossman feels like a burden is getting lifted off her shoulders now that Omaha firefighters are getting the first round of the Moderna vaccine.
"We go into a lot of homes, we go into businesses, and nursing homes and we don't want to be part of the problem where we share germs with others," Bossman said.
The pandemic has taken a toll, to say the least.
"It's been very stressful quite honestly for the firefighters," Bossman said. "We started working with COVID patients back in February, when they were flying in from other states. The prevalence of COVID in the community has been very stressful."
The plan is to offer the vaccine to all the firefighters. While it is not mandatory, first responders like Battalion Chief Rob McEvoy opted to get vaccinated.
"The fire station I currently work in, a lot of the people I spend 24 hours of the time with, they have had it. I've seen the way it affects them, slows them down," McEvoy said.
The shot is a 10 dose vial and is different from a flu shot because flu shots are already pre-filled.
It's an injection of relief for everyday heroes.
"Every little tickle in your throat or sore throat or cough... Is this COVID, do I need to go get tested," McEvoy said. "Should I call in sick, am I going to expose somebody, all those fears will hopefully be gone and we'll hopefully be able to go back to somewhat a more normal life."
It's a life firefighters are fighting to return to, one vaccination at a time.
There are 668 total firefighters in the department. The fire department plans on holding six clinics to cover all the shifts. Follow-up clinics will happen at least 28 days later.