Health workers in Southern California on Monday became the first people in the state to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
Helen Cordova, an ICU nurse at Kaiser Permenante Los Angeles Medical Center, received the first shot, followed by four other health professionals, Gov. Gavin Newsom said.
“I’m feeling great. I’m excited. I’m hopeful,” Cordova said. “And I really encourage everyone to consider receiving the vaccine so we can start putting an end to this pandemic.”
Speaking from the facility, Newsom said, “It’s a day to celebrate. But again, it’s a day to be mindful about the challenge we face.”
The state’s first batch of the COVID-19 vaccine, made by Pfizer, arrived at the Los Angeles International Airport Sunday night.
That’s after the California-led Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which also includes Washington, Oregon and Nevada, confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the Pfizer vaccine approved by the FDA for emergency use.
“We had 11 members, world-class members,” Newsom said Monday. “They reviewed phase one and phase two trials. They reviewed all the information with what was going on, FDA and elsewhere. And they signed off on the safety and veracity of this vaccine unanimously.”
The initial shipment to California includes 327,600 doses, according to the governor. The vaccines were set to go to hospitals that can store the vaccine in ultra-low temperature freezers — about 94 degrees below zero.
Newsom said in addition to the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, one hospital in San Diego and two in Northern California also received doses on Monday.
The state is slated to get more doses of the vaccine later in December, then again in January.
In a video message Monday evening, Newsom said the state will receive 393,000 more doses of the Pfizer vaccine “early next week.”
Under guidelines by the California Department of Public Health, health workers and residents of long-term care facilities would receive priority.
Officials expect vaccinations to then continue with essential workers and others with the highest risk of getting ill with COVID-19. The state is working on plans to distribute the vaccines equitably, Newsom said.