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San Diego’s First COVID-19 Vaccines Will Go To Frontline Health Care Workers

Dr. Alejandro Villegas prepares to enter a COVID-19 patient's room in the int...

Photo by Zoë Meyers / inewsource

Above: Dr. Alejandro Villegas prepares to enter a COVID-19 patient's room in the intensive care unit at Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center, May 1, 2020.

San Diego County Health Officials are initially expecting 28,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine once it gets FDA approval.

The first phase of vaccinations will include frontline health care workers and those in long-term care facilities. With limited doses, the very first vaccines are being prioritized specifically for those in acute care, psychiatric and correctional facility hospitals.

Listen to this story by Matt Hoffman.

Sharp HealthCare is one of the local hospital systems expecting initial doses of the vaccine, which could come by next week.

"We're thinking there may be fewer people in the first week [taking it] and as others see how it goes that we may see an increase," said Sharp HealthCare vice president of system pharmacy and clinical nutrition Suzanne Shea. "Of course, we’re limited by the amount of vaccine that we receive from the county."

Shea said Sharp officials have been preparing for this for weeks, but are not exactly sure how many doses will be given to them at first. She said they will go to employees working in high-risk situations: "Emergency departments, our ICU's, urgent care areas — the folks who are most at risk."

RELATED: FDA Panel Endorses Widespread Use Of Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine

Reported by Matt Hoffman

Sharp has thousands of frontline workers in San Diego County eligible for first vaccinations.

"We’ll get the communication out to our employees and have them schedule themselves — so it’s not mandatory," Shea said.

Other local hospital systems including Rady Children's, Scripps Health care, Palomar Health and UC San Diego Health told KPBS staff are finalizing vaccine plans for frontline workers.

The state of California has chosen Rady Children's Hospital as a site to store vaccines. County officials say the second round of vaccines is expected in three to four weeks.

It could take more than a month to vaccinate all frontline health care workers. Health officials have said it could take until March or April for vaccines to be available for all Americans.

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Matt Hoffman
General Assignment Reporter

opening quote marksclosing quote marksI am a general assignment reporter for KPBS. In addition to covering the latest news and issues that are relevant to the San Diego community, I like to dig deeper to find the voices and perspectives that other media often miss.

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