Blue20

Talbot County Sheriff’s Office deputies mingled with supporters at a “Back the Blue” rally on Sept. 18.

EASTON — Talbot County Sheriff Joe Gamble and some of his deputies got their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine last week, and more are set to get theirs this week as the county continues its efforts to get vaccine into first responders’ arms.

Gamble said a local paramedic gave him his first shot of the Moderna vaccine last week at the Talbot County Operations Center after he signed up for a vaccine clinic organized by the county health department.

“My arm was a little sore for about 24 hours, but I feel fine,” he said.

The sheriff said he’s grateful law enforcement was included in the first priority group for coronavirus immunization locally because his deputies are regularly knowingly exposed to the virus while on duty engaging with the public.

“We’re definitely being exposed in our professional duties to it,” he said. “Some of my deputies have tested positive over the last few months, and I actually had a deputy give CPR to a man who was COVID-positive.”

Gamble said he’s not requiring his deputies to get vaccinated, but he’s asking them to at least “acknowledge that the opportunity is available should they feel they want to do it.”

For health privacy reasons, Gamble is not keeping track of how many people in his department get vaccinated against COVID-19. Though he said he knows many of his deputies opted in because they were at the clinic with him.

“I’m not going to request or get a report from the health department on who did and who didn’t (get vaccinated),” Gamble said. “I believe the deputies have taken whether they want to get vaccinated or not under serious consideration.”

Even after receiving their second dose of the vaccine, Gamble said he and his deputies will continue wearing personal protective equipment and distancing while out in the field interacting with the public.

As of Sunday, Jan. 10, the Talbot County Health Department had administered 66.5% of its allocated vaccine doses to individuals in the Phase 1A vaccination priority group, according to data released by the Maryland Department of Health.

By comparison across the Mid-Shore during the same time frame, Caroline County had administered 99.1% of its allocated vaccine; Queen Anne’s, 74%; Kent, 40.3%; and Dorchester, 45.6%. Each county was allocated a different number of doses based on population and other factors.

Talbot County is slated to get 600 more doses of the Moderna vaccine this week, the state health department said. The shipment will bring the county’s total vaccine allocation to date to 1,700 doses.

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