LAWRENCE, Mass. — The first shots are officially in the arms of some first responders across Massachusetts as of Monday morning.
First responders are the last group eligible to get the coronavirus vaccine as part of the first phase of Massachusetts’ vaccine rollout plan.
At South Lawrence East Elementary School on Monday, first responders were inside the gymnasium getting vaccinated by Lawrence Public School nurses. They’re hoping to vaccinate 150 people on Monday.
Organizers told Boston 25 News they are completely booked for the next two weeks, but they will be adding more appointment time slots soon.
First responders must sign up ahead of time and must show a proper form of I.D. before getting the vaccine.
First responders were given priority in the first phase because, just like healthcare workers, many of them come in contact with COVID-19 patients every day.
Lawrence’s acting fire chief Robert Wilson was the first to get vaccinated Monday morning. He battled the virus less than two months ago.
“I had it in November around Thanksgiving,” Wilson said. “My symptoms were mild, not too bad. My wife’s were a little worse, so we don’t want to go through that again.
“If you get a chance to get the vaccine, take advantage of it. I know it’s everybody’s personal preference, but if you get the chance you should really take advantage of it.”
In Worcester, vaccinations were underway Monday morning as well at the city’s senior center.
Worcester’s health director said they hope to vaccinate 300 first responders on Monday, and about 2,600 over the next eight days.
The vaccinations are being administered by a group of UMass Medical School students who spent the weekend training with registered nurses who are graduate students at UMass Medical School.
“If feels so amazing to be part of the solution for this,” said Helen Tsiagres, a registered nurse and UMass Medical graduate student.
“I work with the community all the time and I see my patients and their rates of COVID are rising, so just knowing that I can offer some of my patients protection in the future against this really means a lot.”
As of the last state report, just under 140,000 people in Massachusetts have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
More than 1,200 people have received their second doses and are fully vaccinated.
In total, Massachusetts has received 328,000 doses of the vaccine, which means that state has administered roughly 43% of the available vaccines.
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