LOS ANGELES – With her co-workers and Gov. Gavin Newsom cheering her on, an intensive-care unit nurse at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Monday received one of the first doses in the state of a long-awaited vaccine to prevent COVID-19.
Helen Cordova sat patiently and joked with other medical personnel as she was given the Pfizer vaccine — administered with a shot in her right arm. Gov. Newsom was among the elected officials on hand at the Kaiser Permanente facility to watch Cordova’s inoculation. Moments later, he tweeted, “History made.” A handful of other Kaiser workers were also vaccinated as cameras rolled.
Helen is the first to get a #COVID19 vaccine in CA. Today equitable & safe administration of vaccines begins with health care workers and Californians in long-term care settings.
Until widely available, we all must stop the spread. Stay home. Wear a mask. Save lives. pic.twitter.com/esrYAwGX9i
— Office of the Governor of California (@CAgovernor) December 14, 2020
Thousands of doses of the vaccine arrived at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday night, marking the first step in a massive undertaking that will see the county attempt to vaccinate 6 million people in six months, beginning with critical health care workers.
LAX officials trumpeted the arrival of the vaccine on Twitter, posting photos of the FedEx jetliner carrying the vaccine, which received formal approval from federal authorities over the weekend for immediate use.
Los Angeles County’s initial allotment of vaccine is expected to be nearly 83,000 doses, a population-based percentage of the roughly 327,000 doses being received by the state of California. The county’s vaccines will be dispersed to nine ultra-cold storage facilities — the locations of which ware not being released due to security concerns, although some hospitals have publicly stated they would be handling the medication. Those facilities will then distribute the doses to 83 acute-care hospitals, which will then oversee its administration to selected critical frontline workers.
UCLA Health officials said they expected to get the vaccines Monday or Tuesday, with shots administered on Wednesday.
“UCLA Health is implementing comprehensive and detailed plans to receive, store and administer COVID-19 vaccinations. We anticipate a limited number of doses arriving in the next day or two, with additional supplies to follow. We have been designated as a regional hub for distribution to other acute-care hospitals,” a UCLA Health statement said.
“Based on the phased allocations made available to UCLA Health, we are committed to offering vaccinations in a fair, equitable and orderly manner that prioritizes those at greatest risk, consistent with guidelines established by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as the California and Los Angeles County departments of public health. UCLA Health anticipates beginning to inoculate our own frontline health care workers as soon as Wednesday.”
Officials with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center said they had no definitive information yet on when they would be receiving the vaccine.
According to Newsom’s office, a Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup — a group of experts created by governors of California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington to independently verify the safety of any vaccine — concluded its review of the Pfizer vaccine Sunday and confirmed it is “safe and efficacious.”
The Pfizer vaccine was co-developed by German partner BioNTech. It needs to be stored at minus-94 degrees Fahrenheit.