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A Lot Of LA Firefighters Aren't Getting Vaccinated. Will Cash Prizes Motivate Them?

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Fire trucks leave the LAFD Station No9 at Skid Row on April 12, 2020 in downtown Los Angeles. which is on the front lines of California's Coronavirus pandemic. (Apu Gomes/AFP)
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Frontline health care workers and first responders are among some of the first in Southern California to be eligible to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but some are hesitant, either because of possible side effects or concerns about the speed with which the shot was approved (you can read more about the validity of those concerns here).

L.A.'s firefighters are one group that's been expressing doubts.

LAFD Fire Captain Erik Scott explains:

"LAFD is a reflection of society at large, so most want the vaccine for obvious reasons. However, some are hesitant, and that's for a variety of different reasons. We've had a very strong start, you know nearly half of our membership have taken the vaccine within just four days of [it] being available to us."

As of Monday, however, only 48% of the department's 3,400 sworn members had been inoculated.
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To incentivize the rest to get on board, the LAFD Foundation, a non-profit organization that raises money for the fire department, is now offering cash prizes to fire stations whose members all get vaccinated.

Individual prizes include bicycles, gift cards and home security cameras.

There are currently several covornairus outbreaks at LAFD stations. That makes sense, given that firefighters sleep there overnight, in close quarters; many of them are paramedic firefighters who work as EMTs.

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The stations with the largest outbreaks are Station 1 near Dodgers Stadium and Station 78 in Studio City -- both have 11 total confirmed COVID-19 cases.

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