Shelby County first responders encourage Memphians to get vaccine when available

Updated: Dec. 28, 2020 at 6:10 PM CST
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SHELBY COUNTY, Tenn. (WMC) - First responders and certain high-risk frontline health care workers received the first dose of the Moderna vaccine Monday, including Shelby County law enforcement and firefighters.

“I think it’s very important for us as leaders, especially as an African American leader to role model,” said Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings.

Rallings, Shelby County Sheriff Floyd Bonner and Memphis Fire Director Gina Sweat all got the vaccine Monday.

As of now, no Shelby County employee is required to get the vaccine, but Rallings says he hopes he’s setting an example for the men and women in blue, and the citizens they serve.

“We want to encourage all of our employees to come out and take the vaccine and we definitely want to encourage all Memphians to come out,” said Rallings.

One Memphis police officer has died from COVID-19; Rallings wonders if these efforts could’ve saved his life.

“Every day I think about that loss and wonder if the vaccine was available could we of offered that vaccine to that officer and saved his life and he’d be here with his family,” said Rallings.

The President of the Memphis Police Association Essica Caj-Rosario says she got the vaccine to protect others.

“I just want to do my part,” said Caj-Rosario. “I don’t want to get anybody sick. I have not contracted COVID and I want to keep it from happening, but at the same time I don’t want to get anybody else sick.”

Shelby County Health Director Dr. Alisa Haushalter says this effort is a step forward to protect our local heroes.

“Critical milestone for Shelby County…We really need to keep our first responders in the field, we don’t need them to be infected with COVID. They are most at risk because they come in contact with people day-to-day,” said Haushalter.

Haushalter says the health department will continue to vaccinate this group of 1a1 individuals throughout the week.

She believes over 3,000 people can be vaccinated by the end of this week through these efforts.

As of Dec. 25, 53,258 Tennesseans have been vaccinated against COVID-19.

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