By Jessica Vallejo

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – It’s becoming more clear that as millions eagerly wait their turn to get vaccinated, millions more have no interest – at least not now. And a new study has found that there are plenty of skeptical first responders.

Firefighters and emergency medical services workers are at high risk of exposure to COVID almost every day.

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They can also pose an additional risk of transmitting the virus to others.

“There is a little bit of a COVID-19 fatigue. As a physician and public health person, I’m always asking what can we do to protect them. Many of them say, ‘Well, I am going to get it anyways.’ And that is where the question came as to will they get the vaccine then,” said Dr. Alberto Caban-Martinez.

Dr. Caban-Martinez is a lead researcher at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

He said little was known about the perceptions of the COVID-19 vaccine among first responders, which is why they decided to conduct a national research study.

Just over 3,000 first responders participated in the survey.

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A little more than 48.2% said they would take the vaccine, while 24.2% were unsure and 27.5% reported low acceptability of the vaccine.

Dr. Caban-Martinez showed CBS4’s Jessica Vallejo a map that separated the states into geographic regions of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Florida fell in the group where 43.1% said they would not accept the vaccine.

But the purpose of the study, Dr. Caban-Martinez said, was to educate and inform first responders about receiving a COVID vaccination.

“Sure, you can have extra PPE on, but a vaccine is just an extra shield,” he said.

The online survey was completed back in October.

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With the new variants in the United States now, Dr. Caban-Martinez said another study will be done very soon.

Jessica Vallejo