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Maine Firefighters Union Says Members Should Comply With State Vaccination Mandate

Virus Outbreak California
Jae C. Hong
Firefighter Adam Brandos, center, waits to receive his second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a fire station in Los Angeles, Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021.

The Professional Fire Fighters of Maine is directing its members to comply with a state mandate that all licensed health workers get vaccinated for COVID-19.

"So our message is getting out there, our members are doing the right thing, and we'll get the boosters as required," says PFFMaine President Michael Crouse.

Crouse says about 90% of his organization is already vaccinated, and that he's working on the other 10%, but there will be job losses.

"There's going to be several of our communities that are going to have to make some pretty tough adjustments to address the loss of firefighters that are not going to be vaccinated. And I have some hard core members who are just not going to do it," he says.

Crouse says there's also a level of confusion in the industry over dueling mandates from the Maine CDC and the Emergency Medical Services Board, with different requirements and start dates.

In late August, emergency personnel overwhelmingly opposed the governor's Oct. 1 vaccine deadline, which was seen to include EMTs and support staff, such as dispatchers and fire truck mechanics.

The Board of Emergency Services ultimately adopted a revised rule which extends the vaccination deadline to Oct. 15, and limits the requirement just to those who have contact with patients.

Crouse says he hoping the Maine CDC and EMS board will reconcile the two rules.