AGAWAM, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- Hundreds of first responders in western Massachusetts continue the fight against COVID-19 after receiving the Moderna vaccine.

Starting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, first responders have been going in and out of the doors of the Bethany Assembly of God Church to be vaccinated.

“I didn’t even feel it to be honest. It felt like nothing, so it didn’t hurt,” said Jacklyn O’Brien with the Blandford Fire Department.

O’Brien is a firefighter for the Blandford Fire Department. She told Western Mass News that at first, she was a bit hesitant to get the vaccine, but then she changed her mind once she saw the outcome of it.

Now, she is encouraging others to go get it.

“I feel like this is the right step in the right direction. We’ve tried so many other things and I think that with everything going on, this is the best step that we could take right now,” O’Brien added.

This week, the Bay State is allowing vaccine clinic sites for first responders, but Agawam Mayor William Sapelli is also hoping his town could be a center for the general public to get a vaccine.

“We volunteered to do that, but that’s up to the state and we can’t thank Bethany Assembly of God enough for allowing us to use their facility here,” Sapelli explained.

After Wednesday, 400 first responders will be less worried about catching COVID-19 when they go out on calls. That's one of the reasons why Mark Carboneau, an officer for the Westfield Police Department got vaccinated.

"Just the multitude of calls we deal with every day, not knowing what you're walking into. We deal with COVID all the time when we respond to calls and this is kind of a way to protect ourselves and the community,” Carboneau explained.

Eleven towns in total participated in getting vaccinated.

All 400 first responders will have to get a second dose of the Moderna vaccine about 28 days from Wednesday.

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