First responders in St. Louis County expected to get first COVID shots as early as next week


ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – St. Louis County is moving quickly to make sure first responders get their COVID-19 vaccine. 

Most of the of the staff and officers at the Chesterfield Police force have not been vaccinated and they are exposed to citizens everyday who could be infected. 

“Most of the officers I talked to are very excited to get the ball rolling to try to put an end to this pandemic and doing their part and getting vaccination and moving on from there,” said Sgt. Keith Rider, spokesman for the Chesterfield Police Department.

The St. Louis Pandemic Task Force, St. Louis County, and SSM Health are working together to vaccinate EMS workers, firefighters, and police who work at any department in the county as soon as possible. 

“The first responder world has been hit hard by COVID cases and exposures,” said Michelle Ryan, head of the St. Louis County Office of Emergency Management. “To get something like this finally set up and the guys through the shot line is huge.” 

Officials indicated a majority of firefighters and paramedics have already received both doses of the vaccine. The focus now is on police officers.

“The more and more I gave thought about it with regard to my family and other individuals that I come in contact to, the more it became of importance to me,” Chesterfield Officer Mike Clymer said.

The program is open to more than 4,000 first responders. Approximately 650 appointments were made by Wednesday afternoon. Those public servants can begin rolling up their sleeves for the shot Monday morning. 

“I have a nephew who has really bad asthma, my sister who has lupus, so there’s no way I would want to put anyone in jeopardy,” Clymer said. 

The first three days are already filled with appointments. Officials hope to have all first responders inoculated in less than three weeks. 

“To have that layer of protection with the vaccine is essential. One: to keep our workforce at work. And two: for the officers not to be bringing things home to their families,” Rider said.

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