A group of fire chiefs in York County is preparing to help distribute the next round of COVID-19 vaccine to first responders.

The York County Chiefs’ Association said it is partnering with multiple state agencies to distribute the Moderna vaccine to emergency medical service personnel. That vaccine is expected to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration as soon as Friday, and the first deliveries could reach Maine next week.

Frontline EMS workers have been identified as a high-priority group by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are among the first groups nationwide to receive vaccinations against the virus.

The first doses of a vaccine developed by Pfizer were administered Tuesday in Maine, and more doses are expected to continue to arrive and be distributed to vulnerable people and highly exposed medical workers in the coming days and weeks.

Both the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines are administered in two doses about three weeks apart.

The Pfizer vaccines was first to be approved and must be transported and stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94 degrees Fahrenheit). A first round was shipped this week to larger hospitals in Maine to begin vaccinating front-line health care workers.

The Moderna vaccine does not require ultra-cold storage and can be distributed more broadly, including to first responders and to smaller hospitals.

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