First Responders Get First Dose of COVID-19 Vaccine in the East Bay

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East Bay paramedics and firefighters got their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at Saint Rose Hospital in Hayward Friday.

Many of these frontline workers say – they now feel it’s their duty to dispel rumors about the vaccine to their family members, friends and even some of their coworkers.  

“You know they’re really scared, you can tell by their eyes,” said emergency medical technician Kabuyula Nietschmann.

He is the hero who shows up in an ambulance when there’s a medical emergency. But even with 13 years under his belt, he said “it is overwhelming, seeing a lot of dead people it really is.” 

The Alameda County EMT wasn’t mentally prepared for how the pandemic would affect him.  

“I try not to attach too myself to the COVID patient because I’m not sure if they’re gonna make it or not, I try my best and I pray for them.”

On Friday, one of his prayers was answered.

“It was just like getting a flu shot and I’m just going to monitor myself for the next three days,” he said. “I took a video, I’ma share it on social media.”

Nietchmann said he did it so he can reassure family members and friends who are still on fence about taking the vaccine. 

“Even with my friends that work for 911, they’re also skeptical about it as well, so it’s going to be a tough war to get people to convince them,” he said.

Roya Monshizadeh isn’t a spokesperson for Pfizer, but this maternity ward manager is quickly becoming the vaccine’s biggest cheerleader. 

“Now that I got it, I can tell them, ‘see, I’m healthy, I’m standing on my feet, I didn’t pass out,’” she said. “My daughter just called me, I said, ‘come and get it. It’s no big deal.’ And she’s like ‘no mom, I want to get pregnant, I don’t know if I can if I get this vaccine.’”

The Oakland mom already got COVID in September and beat it. Her next challenge: convincing her adult children – who just happen to be a doctor and a nurse – to get the vaccine themselves. 

“Their hesitation is – they want to see some of the studies on long-term side effects rather than jumping in and getting it,” said Monshizadeh.

Nietschmann said, “that’s the last hope we have, is this vaccine please take it if you can.”

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