MCPHERSON, Kansas – Whooping cough, the flu and even the measles have been in the news the last couple of months and being vaccinated is key in slowing the spread of each.
When officials in one Kansas town realized that many of their first responders weren’t vaccinated, they decided that would have to change.
“So, we did have an exposure to the hepatitis A, like I said it really put it to the forefront of our concern,” said Jeff Deal, the Fire Chief in McPherson.
It’s a danger that first responders can face any day, exposure to serious illnesses.
After the hepatitis A exposure and a recent whooping cough outbreak, McPherson city officials decided to ensure every first responder is up-to-date on their vaccines.
“We’d have a terrible what you call a sick house syndrome with a very communicable disease like that we could get the whole house sick very quickly because we do work twenty-four hours at a time we’re all confined to sleeping quarters things of that nature and things could move very quickly,” said Deal.
First responders are required to have a tetanus shot, but they might not have had the TDaP, which has the vaccine for tetanus, diphtheria and whooping cough in it.
“A lot of folks have had it but sometimes finding records is difficult, especially when it’s been a number of years,” said Nick Gregory the McPherson City Administrator.
Next week all the McPherson first responders will start getting up to date on their vaccines and now all new hires will be required to be up to date as well.
The city has allotted $40,000 from a workman’s comp fund, to pay for the vaccines.
“Though it was a fairly expensive investment I think it’s important one to make sure we can staff everything properly and that we take care of our employees,” said Gregory.
First responders in McPherson are just concerned with keeping everyone safe and illness free.
“We are here 100 percent dedicated to serve, you won’t find a more dedicated group of people,” said Deal.
First responders will be vaccinated starting next week, with whatever vaccinations they don’t have a record of getting including, measles, whooping cough and hepatitis.