KALAMAZOO COUNTY, Mich. — Kalamazoo County held its first ever COVID-19 vaccine clinic for first responders. They're estimating more than 600 EMS, police and firefighters will get it this week alone.
The vaccinations took place at the Kalamazoo County Expo Center with it approximately taking each person around 15 to 20 minutes in and out.
The Kalamazoo County District Health Department's health officer said the vaccine is the most significant public health tool they have to address the pandemic.
"This is very exciting. This is really the most significant public health tool we have to address this pandemic. This isn’t going to be the end, and we are going to have to continue to wear masks. We are going to have to continue to distance. It is going to take some time to get through all of the different tiers. That mass testing is going to take some time. Once we get the majority of our population vaccinated, I think that we can collectively take a sigh of relief and hopefully start having conversations about a more normal environment, said the Kalamazoo County District Health Department's Health Officer Jim Rutherford.
#Kalamazoo County Health & Community Services Department is holding its first #COVID-19 vaccine clinic for first responders & frontline workers.— Lauren Kummer (@LaurenKummerTV) December 22, 2020
They are estimating they’ll vaccinate over 300 people just today. @FOX17 pic.twitter.com/AuRHhVU60c
The health department's medical director said he received his on Friday with minor side effects.
"The day after I got my vaccine, I had a pretty sore shoulder. I also had a headache all of the next day. Then two days later, I did not have those symptoms. We do see folks that have those symptoms after getting the vaccine. In fact, it is not possible for a person to get COVID-19 from the vaccine itself. What this is, is your body having that immune response building up that immunity is what those symptoms are showing you," said the Kalamazoo County District Health Department's Dr. William Nettleton.
The health department said they believe they'll be finished with the first round of vaccinations for first responders at the end of the week, and then they'll start the round of second doses after that.
They're then hoping to move onto vaccinations in congregate care settings within the next month.