Honolulu (HI) First Responders Receive First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine

Firefighters on a hoseline

Kristen Consillio

The Honolulu Star-Advertiser

(MCT)

Dec. 23—Honolulu’s first responders today began getting vaccinated for COVID-19, after months of treating infectious coronavirus patients.

Paramedic Shirley Ann Cazinha, stationed at the Waialuaunit, has lived in fear of bringing the virus home to her family and said she chose to get immunized so she can spend more time with her ailing mother.

“Many of us don’t see our own families because they’re afraid of what we might be carrying. It’s heartbreaking for us. I cant hug my mom. I can’t even see my mom, ” Cazinha said at a news conference today. “This vaccine is a light in this darkness of COVID. For all first responders, we can re-bond with our families again and not fear that I’m not going to make my own family sick while I try and take care of everyone else.”

Oahuhas roughly 4, 500 first responders and more than 135 Honolulu Emergency Medical Servicesemployees have so far signed up for the shot. Honolulu EMS has treated more than 600 coronavirus patients.

Honolulu PoliceChief Susan Ballardsaid she was “kind of on the fence ” about taking the vaccine, but after researching the scientific studies she was able to make an informed decision and be an example for the community.

“It’s a personal choice for everybody whether they take the vaccine or they don’t take the vaccine. I’m one of those people who need to do plenty of research … before I make a decision. I have decided to take the shot, ” she said before getting the first dose. A second dose will need to be taken at least 20 days later. “If it means by me taking this vaccine and this shot that other people are willing to step up and may have some second thoughts about it so that we can make our island safe, then I’m there to do it. We’re all in this together and we can only do it if we all become one.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwellsaid the city’s goal is to vaccinate as many first responder “heroes ” as possible.

“They need to take care of themselves so they can take care of us and they’ve been taking care of us through the worst health crisis in 100 years, ” he said, imploring all residents to get the vaccine once it becomes available to the general public. “It’ll protect you, it’ll protect your family and it allows your community to return to a new normal.”

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