Hope has arrived.
That was the message from Gov. Gavin Newsom, surely echoed by many across the state and the nation, as a FedEx cargo jet carrying the first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine touched down Sunday evening at Los Angeles International Airport. This week, select health care workers will become the first Californians to be inoculated from the new coronavirus with those very vials.
Hope has arrived. https://t.co/wkKzEwsGht
— Gavin Newsom (@GavinNewsom) December 14, 2020
California received 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine in its initial shipment, which are now being distributed to hospitals and health departments throughout the state. By the end of the year, it expects another 300,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and another 627,000 from Moderna, whose vaccine is still awaiting final approval in the U.S. but has been shown to be similarly effective to Pfizer’s.
Newsom and other leaders, as well as health experts, have cautioned that it will take months before the vaccine is available to much of the general population. Health care workers and residents of long-term care facilities are first in line. State officials said they hope to vaccinate 2.16 million people by the end of the year. However, the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines each requires a second dose, and the initial batch doesn’t cover all of the 2.4 million health care workers in the state.
In this first allotment, the greater Bay Area will receive 80,497 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
On Monday morning, an intensive-care nurse in New York became the first person in the U.S. to receive the vaccine.
On Sunday, the scientific safety working group created by the governors of California, Nevada, Washington and Oregon signed off on the safety and efficacy of the Pfizer vaccine, clearing the final hurdle for inoculations to begin in the western U.S.
“As California continues to fight the surge, we know hope is on the way with a vaccine,” Newsom said in a statement. “With shipments of the vaccine soon on their way to California, we are working hand-in-hand with local public health officials to get the vaccine out to the first phase of recipients.”