FORT WORTH, Texas — Since the pandemic began, medical experts have urged people to work from home if they can. Firefighters don't have that option.
"Every shift we're going out on EMS calls, whether they're COVID positive or just there's a concern they have COVID," explained Michael Glynn, a Fort Worth firefighter and the president of the Fort Worth Professional Firefighters Association.
That's why Glynn was eager to get the coronavirus vaccine as soon as Tarrant County Public Health offered it to them.
"I think it's something that can protect myself, my family and the firefighters I work with, and the community as well," he said. "By preventing the chance of me getting COVID, it's going to prevent the chance of me spreading it as well in the community."
The risk to catch it and spread it is real; Glynn said more than 100 Fort Worth firefighters have gotten COVID. That's more than 10% of the department. Several have been hospitalized, he said.
And just this month, the virus took the life of Captain Randy Robinson, who served his city nearly 40 years.
"Within a month, he ended up in the hospital," Glynn said. "To lose one of our firefighters to this virus during this pandemic is devastating for our department," and to the community, he added.
More than 1,400 people have died of the virus in Tarrant County alone. But vaccinations aim to end that suffering. According to the state's vaccination dashboard, nearly 6,000 people in Tarrant County have received the first dose of the vaccination and more than 12,000 in Dallas County.
Glynn said he felt some emotions when getting his first dose of the Moderna vaccine.
"I was proud to be able to be one of the first ones to take the vaccination," he said.
Because it could be another way to save a life while on the job.