WAYNESVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) - Officials in Haywood County said more than 80 firefighters, EMS, and rescue squad personnel who are frontline care providers were vaccinated last week at a drive-through clinic organized by Haywood County Emergency Services in partnership with Haywood Health and Human Services.

“Vaccinating first responders in Haywood County protects the community in two ways—those with immunity following vaccination will prevent inadvertent spread of COVID-19 when responding to people’s homes and it prevents situations where departments become understaffed with members out sick or quarantined with COVID-19,” said Emergency Services Director Greg Shuping in a news release.

Officials said the drive-thru clinic had the added benefit of providing a test of plans for future mass vaccination efforts, using a similar but, scaled-up model for drive-thru vaccinations.

“We have prepared a plan that we believe will work for vaccinating hundreds of people per day when enough doses are available to do so, and today’s smaller-scale test helped us exercise those plans and work out any issues before we move into larger events like this for the public,” said Travis Donaldson, deputy director, in the release

Haywood Community College EMS students who are preparing to become full-fledged EMTs or Paramedics also participated in the clinic and gave the shots under the supervision of their instructors.

Fire, EMS, and rescue squad members from all over the county received their first COVID-19 vaccine dose at this clinic, including members of Waynesville Fire Department, Saunook Volunteer Fire Department, Haywood Rescue Squad, Haywood Search and Rescue, Clyde Fire Department, Cruso Fire Department, North Canton Fire Department, Crabtree Fire Department, Junaluska Volunteer Fire Department, Center Pigeon Fire Rescue, Canton Fire Department, Jonathan Creek Fire Rescue, Evergreen Paper Emergency Response Team, Fines Creek Fire Department, Lake Logan Fire Department.

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