Free Swine Vaccine For Bravest, EMTs in Order To Keep Them Safe

NY Daily News - November 05, 2009

by Samuel Goldsmith

They city's 14,000 firefighters and EMTs will be offered free swine flu shots over the next four days, officials said on Wednesday.

"The purpose is obvious," Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta told the Daily News. "Our people have to respond to calls where people complain of flulike symptoms, and we want to make sure they are safe."

Scoppetta said about 3% of calls to firefighters and EMTs are about flulike illness. He encouraged all his members to get the swine flu vaccine but said it is not mandatory.

His staff was already offered seasonal flu vaccines earlier this year, and about half of the staff accepted them.

Kerry Kelly, the Fire Department's chief medical officer, expects the same number of people will get the swine flu vaccine.

"It's highly recommended for people exposed to the virus," she said. "It's a safe vaccination; we're hoping our members get it."Samuel Goldsmith