The President of the Grande Prairie Fire Fighters Association says he is thrilled front workers in the city will now be eligible to book a COVID-19 vaccine appointment.
Firefighters, along with police officers, provincial sheriffs, as well as all Albertans over 50 and First Nations, Metis, and Inuit people between the ages of 35 and 49, as eligible for the vaccine as part of Phase 2D of the province’s vaccination rollout plan.
Ian MacDonald says the education drive they set out on to try and get Fire Fighters the vaccine has paid off in Alberta, as those on the front line continue to be at risk.
“While the physical demands of our job are on the high end, just like a police officer or paramedic, we are human,” he says.
“So, something like COVID-19, while we may be young and healthy, we know it doesn’t discriminate, and people can be more susceptible for no real reason.”
Earlier this month, MacDonald criticized the province for leaving fire personnel out of the vaccine eligibility pool. He says despite being happy other first responders, like paramedics, were able to get the vaccine if they chose, he argued that firefighters were exposing themselves to similar hazards.
He believes the two-week push to get firefighters vaccinated could lead to a better understanding of the issues they face.
“We did have councillors here in the city taking up our cause on our behalf, so, I think at a lot of levels, there has been a large education component as to what Fire Fighters in this province do,” he says.
“Hopefully, going forward, we can build on this education and advocate for more supports from our municipalities for the services we provide.”
The province says appointments for those included in Phase 2D of the vaccination rollout can begin booking online, or over the phone, as of April 30th.