Union fire fighters launch ‘Union Blitz’ to get union members vaccinated

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Second phase for any groups, i.e. churches, businesses

By MARY ANN HOLLEY
Correspondent

PATTONVILLE FIRE FIGHTERS (from left) Mike Underwood, Captain Darren Ketcherside and Kyle Hanford ready vaccine doses during a vaccination clinic April 13 at Machinists District 9 Hall. – Labor Tribune photo

After three months of volunteering to deliver COVID-19 vaccinations to the most vulnerable members of the public, volunteers with Fire Fighters Local 2665 have launched a blitz to get union members and the general public via their membership organizations vaccinated.

“We’re union, and want to make sure our brothers and sisters are safe,” said Kevin Stuhlman, assistant chief of the Pattonville Fire Protection District, outlining the initial Union Blitz aspect of the program.

In a second phase, Local 2665 will launch on-demand “pop up” clinics for churches, companies, and organizations that want to sponsor a vaccination clinic for their members, added Mark Woolbright, vice president International Fire Fighters 2nd District. (See separate story below.)

MACHINISTS LODGE 837 member Ralph Seyer (left) received his COVID-19 vaccination April 13 from Fire Fighter/Paramedic Quinn Klenke of the Pattonville Fire Protection District. – Labor Tribune photo

Volunteers from Local 2665 began their first “Union Blitz” April 15 for members of Machinists District 9 at Machinists District 9 Hall, 12365 St. Charles Rock Rd, in Bridgeton, where 463 were vaccinated, said Dave Weaver, District 9 directing business representative. Additional vaccinations for all and any union members and spouses were held April 20 at the Machinists building.

A third clinic open to all union members and spouses is also being held at the Machinist Hall today Tuesday, April 27 but required advanced registration. Additional clinics are planned at future dates if the demand is there. Watch your Labor Tribune for details.

ONCE REGISTERED
Once registered, the St. Louis County Health Department will notify you by email or text of your scheduled date and time. You will need to bring your driver’s license or state-issued identification card with you to the clinic. When you get the first shot at the clinic, you will be scheduled to receive the second shot three weeks later.

12,000 VACCINATIONS ADMINISTERED SO FAR
Hundreds of fire fighter/paramedics, volunteering on their days off, have already administered over 12,000 vaccinations at clinics and firehouses throughout St. Louis County.

Fire fighter/paramedics complete hours of training and are licensed and certified to provide vaccines and other emergency medical care.

On April 15, fire fighter/paramedics from Pattonville, Maryland Heights, Robertson and West Overland fire departments arranged themselves at socially distanced tables in the large Machinist’s Hall, administering shots and answering questions for Machinist members.

“We appreciate the Machinists allowing use of the hall,” said Pattonville Fire Protection District Chief Jim Usry. “It’s a perfect spot to spread out.”

“Union fire fighters are trusted by the public and we are eager to do our part to get shots in arms,” Usry said. “We also want to protect our paramedic/fire fighters with issues such as needle sticks.”

WHAT TO EXPECT

Pattonville Fire Fighter Quinn Klenke was among the many Local 2665 members who have volunteered their time to help deliver vaccinations.

“I imagine we’ve given at least 300 to 400 shots per day,” he said

“Most people have a sore arm for a day or two, and that’s about it,” he said. “I didn’t have any repercussions at all.”

Fire fighter Amy Kiehm, of the Maryland Heights Fire Department, said the vaccination process has gone very well and run very smoothly.

“People aren’t as fearful about the vaccine,” she said. “Mostly, it’s people concerned about the needle,” Kiehm said.

The whole process, she said, takes about 15 minutes.

Fire fighters to host ‘pop up’ clinics for organizations

In a second phase of their community outreach to provide COVID-19 vaccinations, Fire Fighters Local 2665 will conduct “pop up” vaccination clinics for any group, such as churches, businesses, organizations like a Chamber of Commerce, that want to sponsor a clinic for their members to be vaccinated.

The clinics will be coordinated and run by Local 2665 paramedic/fire fighter teams at a designated fire house in a specific Fire Protection District. Details will be worked out once a “pop up” clinic is scheduled.

To schedule a “pop up” clinic, call the St. Louis County Department of Health at 314-615-0600.

 


 

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