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EMS first responders receive COVID-19 vaccines in Lucas County

Mercy Health is working with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department to vaccinate first responders, but the first phase does not include police officers.

TOLEDO, Ohio — Area first responders received COVID-19 vaccines on Monday at Mercy Health-St. Vincent Medical Center.

The effort is part of the state's first phase of coronavirus vaccinations. 

Mercy Health is responsible for vaccinating those first-line employees throughout the county, and they are getting the Moderna vaccine.

There are 231 EMS personnel registered for today and 178 for Wednesday.

Nicole Zmijewski with the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department was the first local EMS responder to get the shot.

"I have a little boy, I have family that I want to protect. And I bring this home every day I feel like and luckily to this point, knock on wood, we've been safe," Zmijewski said.  

"At first, I was a little apprehensive. However, I did my own personal research and I realize the science to develop it is not something that's new. And I think we have to do it not only for ourselves but for the citizens, we serve the citizens," she added.

Mercy Health Dr. Casey, who works at St. Vincent Medical Center, said, "the real way out of this pandemic is for us to get the immunity that we can get through the vaccine. 

"The Toledo-Lucas County Health Department and Mercy Health are proud to partner to ensure that those on the front lines caring for our community throughout this unprecedented pandemic are protected from the COVID-19 Virus," a news release from the health system read on Sunday. 

Police officers are not part of this first wave, and Toledo Police Chief George Kral has expressed his displeasure that the state's order of vaccinations has not yet included police. 

On Twitter last week, Kral said, "I am very disappointed that the Ohio Department of Health has determined that law enforcement officers do not qualify for the vaccines provided by the CDC for COVID-19 phase 1A. These front line officers are on the street day and night serving and deserve better." 

Because of the limited number of initial vaccines available, Ohio has identified who will be among the first to receive those very early shipments in Phase 1A, should they choose to be vaccinated, listed below:

  • Healthcare providers and personnel who are routinely involved with the care of COVID-19 patients.
  • Residents and staff at nursing facilities.
  • Residents and staff at assisted living facilities.
  • Patients and staff at psychiatric hospitals.
  • People with intellectual disabilities and those with mental illness who in group homes or centers and staff at those locations
  • Residents and staff of Ohio’s veterans homes.
  • EMS responders

"Mercy Health has proudly served our area first responders through a variety of programs, including anti-body testing and PPE sterilization," a statement from Mercy Health said Sunday. 

"Working together with the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department, Mercy Health is pleased to ensure that these brave men and women are protected from this pandemic as they continue to respond to emergency calls throughout the communities they serve."


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