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Naples first responders receive COVID-19 vaccine 4 months after one of their colleagues died

Posted at 6:54 PM, Dec 31, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-31 18:54:08-05

NAPLES — First-Responders in Naples received the COVID-19 vaccine for the first time Thursday.

It comes only four months after one of their colleagues died from the disease. Anthony "Tony" Christensen died of COVID-19 after catching the disease while doing his job.

Battalion Chief Adam Nadelman was the first to receive the vaccine. He said he worked with Christensen for years, and couldn't help thinking about him Thursday.

"I just kept on thinking to myself, I wish this was available for him, and that he was here getting the shot," said Nadelman.

Christensen got COVID-19 while transporting a patient in an ambulance. Nadelman said, it’s something all of his colleagues do on a daily basis, which is why the shots are so important.

"You’re trying to treat them for what’s wrong with them, but at the same time, you’re trying to also protect yourself," said Nadelman.

Doctors at Naples Community Hospital also said, despite getting shipments of vaccines, in the near future, they only expect the spread to get worse.

"We are unfortunately anticipating after the winter holiday here, an expansion again of COVID cases," said Dr. David Lindner, the head of the NCH COVID-19 response team.

That’s why Nadelman said he’s excited that his team has another level of protection.

"It definitely gives a little bit of safety in the back of my mind that I have the vaccine, and I kind of can’t wait for the next booster shot in 4 weeks to come," said Nadelman.

Right now, the vaccines are only being given out to first-responders and hospital staff. Collier County will start distributing them to the public next week, but those appointments have already filled up.