Some firefighters want COVID-19 vaccination mandate following first responder COVID deaths

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Seven first responders have now died of COVID-19 in the Jacksonville area. The Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters is calling on everyone to get vaccinated — those on the frontlines and everyday people who call on first responders for help.

Together, Ivan Mote and Terrance Jones have almost 60 years of experience serving as firefighters and chiefs.

Jones is still on the front lines every day. One of the biggest threats to health and life that he’s facing right now is COVID-19.

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“We have a duty, but the community has a duty too; you have a duty to protect us. You have a duty and responsibility to do your part and make sure the virus isn’t transferred,” Jones explained.

The push to get vaccinated comes as several first responders have died of the virus.

According to the Officer Down Memorial page, as of Thursday, 24 law enforcement officers in Florida have lost their lives because of COVID-19.

Nassau County deputy Jack Gwynes, JSO Sergeant Louis Livatino, Clay County Sergeant Eric Twisdale, JSO Lt. Christopher Cunningham, St. Johns County deputy Jody Hull, retired Neptune Beach Police officer Eddie Bounds and JFRD’s Lt. Mario Moya have all died of COVID-19.

“On Thursday we’re going to bury Lt. Mario Moya, who gave the ultimate sacrifice,” Jones said.

Mote and Jones believe vaccines must be mandatory for first responders.

“With Pfizer being approved today, it’s time to mandate some of these vaccines,” Mote added.

LINK: Coronavirus: What are the symptoms of the delta variant in children?

They’d like the community’s help as well.

Next month, the Jacksonville Brotherhood of Firefighters will offer free COVID-19 booster shots at the old Fire Station 9 at 24th and Perry to those who are eligible.