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LATEST UPDATES: Tracking COVID-19 | Racial Justice

UC San Diego Health Receives Nearly 3,000 COVID-19 Vaccines

The UC San Diego Health Pharmacy team unpacks the first shipment of the Pfize...

Credit: UC San Diego

Above: The UC San Diego Health Pharmacy team unpacks the first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine on Dec. 15, 2020.

Another 2,925 of Pfizer's long-awaited COVID-19 vaccines arrived at UC San Diego Health for frontline health care workers Tuesday morning.

The vaccine — estimated to be 95% effective at preventing COVID-19 — recently received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Vaccine distribution is coordinated through the California Department of Public Health and public health departments, governed by recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices. Following these recommendations, health care workers are receiving the first available vaccinations.

"Our goal is to vaccinate as many employees as quickly as possible, depending upon supplies and evolving circumstances," said Patty Maysent, CEO of UC San Diego Health.

"With subsequent vaccine shipments from Pfizer and as other vaccines, such as Moderna, come online, we will expand the opportunity to vaccinate to all health system employees, our patients and communities beyond. We are determined to do this as safely and effectively, as rapidly and methodically, as we can," Maysent said. "But even with actual vaccinations starting, we must continue to follow all current measures designed to slow viral spread and infection, from masking and distancing to hand washing and signing up for CA NOTIFY."

The first doses of the vaccine arrived Monday with San Diego County receiving and storing about 12,000 in subzero freezers to distribute to regional acute health care hospitals. Rady Children's Hospital will also receive vaccines this week.

The 28,000 the county will receive in the first Pfizer batch is part of around 327,000 doses California is expected to receive in the first distribution. According to the county, the initial allotment will cover around 72% of what is needed for all identified health care first-tier recipients.

Critical care health workers will be the first people to get the vaccine, followed by nursing home and long-term care facility residents and employees. The initial distribution will not be sufficient to vaccinate all people in those populations; however, the state anticipates receiving hundreds of thousand more doses over the next few weeks, followed by weekly allocations starting next year.

Once people in these first two groups in are vaccinated and more COVID- 19 vaccine doses are available, they will go to essential workers such as people who work in education, food and agriculture, police officers, firefighters, correctional officers and transportation workers, among others.

After that, the priority will be to vaccinate adults with underlying medical conditions and people over the age of 65 because they are at higher risk of developing serious complications from COVID-19.

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