FRESNO, California (KSEE) – First responders, such as police officers, EMTs, and firefighters have modified the way they work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

With the Moderna vaccine now available to these essential workers, some first responders hope a return to normalcy could be around the corner.

Fresno Fire Deputy Chief Rich Cabral says they decided to jump on the opportunity to get vaccinated.

“We wanted to take a very proactive approach to this and meet the needs of our people to make it available to them because our number one priority is the safety of our people,” said Cabral.

Cabral says he wanted to lead the way by getting vaccinated on Monday, alongside dozens of other firefighters.

“I have to tell you it was less painful than the flu shot, and I am very fortunate that I haven’t had any side effects whatsoever,” said Cabral.

Because firefighters are exposed to numerous people while responding to emergencies, Cabral says getting vaccinated is like having an added protection that can help stop the spread.

“We need to get EMS and get fire vaccinated because they are our front-line,” said Danielle Campagne, the Medical Director for American Ambulance. “When you dial 911, they show up to help us in most need.”

Campagne says first responders take care of our community as a whole – so giving them this opportunity seems right.

“This vaccine is giving us hope that we can stop the coronavirus and stop the spread so I encourage anyone if you can get the vaccine to get it,” said Campagne.