By Karen Morfitt

DENVER (CBS4) – Just weeks after Colorado received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccine, hundreds of Denver’s first responders are getting their first dose.

(credit: Denver Health)

Staff from Denver Health started administering the coronavirus vaccine to Denver police officers, deputies, firefighters and emergency medical technicians this week. Many of them are at risk every day — going in and out of homes to help those in need.

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“This has been a long road for everyone,” Captain Greg Pixley with the Denver Fire Department said.

Not only have they been helping transport COVID patients, but everyday dispatch calls are handled differently.

“We treat every patient as if they might have the symptoms of COVID until we can determine they do not,” Pixley said.

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While caution will still be top of mind, Denver’s first responders now have a new layer of protection, with many of them signing up to be among the first in Colorado to get the vaccine.

Pixley says with every poke in the arm, there’s less worry all around.

“The more firefighters that become sick, the less likely we are to be able to provide services to the citizens,” he said. “As well, it takes a period of time for those firefighters to come back, and for us to fill those spots of those that are sick.”

Having access to the vaccine early on in Colorado’s phased distribution plan he says will only strengthen the community response.

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“The opportunity that our firefighters, sheriffs, paramedics is tremendous because now we are at the beginning of the end,” Pixley said.

Karen Morfitt