BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – A Brevard County commissioner is proposing mandatory COVID-19 vaccines for some first responders.

What You Need To Know

  • Brevard commissioner proposing COVID-19 mandate for first responders

  • Brevard County District Three Commissioner John Tobia is behind the proposal

  • The plan would include firefighters, paramedics and EMTs

The plan would include firefighters, paramedics and EMTs. But the mandate isn't sitting well with the local firefighters' union.

Since the pandemic began, Vicki Simms’ parents John and Betty haven't left their room at the Fountains of Melbourne assisted living facility.

"Ninety-four and 97 years old each," Simms said. "My parents haven't left their quarters since this started a year ago March."

Their ages make their safety paramount. Simms is in favor of paramedics who respond to emergencies at these facilities be vaccinated.

"Vaccinated, for themselves as well as the people they are working on," Simms said. "There's a realization this is at least a partial protection."

"When I heard a large percentage, more than half of firefighter paramedics were not interested in getting it, I thought it was time for action," said Brevard County District Three Commissioner John Tobia, who is proposing mandatory vaccinations for county first responders.

A policy is already in place for firefighters, paramedics and EMTs to be paid $150 to get both doses.

"There's a lot of opposition to it, which I just don't understand," Tobia said.

The survey, conducted back in December, revealed two-thirds are choosing not to be vaccinated.

"If they don't voluntarily take the vaccine, they are putting residents at risk, he said. "The very residents they are entrusted to keep safe."

In a statement, Michael Bramson, President of Brevard County Firefighter's Union Local 2969, said they aren't against COVID-19 vaccinations, and encourages anyone to get them. But they are against mandatory vaccinations as a requirement for employment.

Simms hopes the measure passes for her parents' safety and sake.

"Mandated, tough decision there, I have to admit," Simms said. "Data is what talks, I believe in science."

The firefighters union says they will continue to use PPE and prioritize safe interactions with the public.

Brevard County commissioners meet Tuesday for a possible vote.