SAN FRANCISCO - The first doses of COVID-19 vaccinations reserved for Bay Area healthcare workers was administered Tuesday morning, providing a flash of hope as California navigates its darkest days of the pandemic.
At Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, two nurses, two doctors and a radiology technician received the first five doses as the city marked a historical moment and new phase of the pandemic. Additional staff at the hospital will begin receiving one of the 2,000 doses the hospital received on Wednesday.
“This is a historic day for our city and, we hope, the start of a turning point in our response to COVID-19,” said Mayor London Breed in a statement. “This has been a really tough year, and this is good news for our city and for the fight against COVID. It gives us some much-needed hope during an otherwise challenging and uncertain time.
Hospitals across the Bay Area began receiving their shipments of the Pfizer vaccine as early as Monday. Some are expecting the shots later this week. They're all following the CDC recommendation that high-risk health care workers and nursing home staff and residents should get the first doses of the vaccine this month.
Dr. Antonio Gomez, SF General's medical director of critical care, was the first person to get vaccinated in the city. Phung Nguyen, a nurse in the intensive care unit, was the second in line.
The chief of emergency medicine at San Francisco is scheduled to get his vaccine on Wednesday.
"This is an incredibly important step in addressing this pandemic," said Dr. Chris Colwell.
In Santa Clara County, nearly 6,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived Tuesday for people in the highest risk categories. The rest of the 17,550 doses are expected to arrive later this week.
The first group of COVID-19 vaccines arrived in Santa Clara County on Tuesday.
City and county officials are reminding residents that although the vaccine arrival is certainly a bright spot, the road ahead remains long and dangerous. San Francisco Director of Health Dr. Grant Colfax said the vaccine won't reach the bulk of the public for several months.
“This is going to be a long process, vaccine supply is extremely limited,” said Colfax. “There will not be sufficient vaccine quantities to protect us as a community against this third surge. does to protet us against this surge.”
The Pfizer vaccine comes in two doses - that have to be spaced about three weeks apart, in order for the vaccine to be 95 percent effective.
So health officials warn this is just the very beginning of that light at the end of the tunnel, and we still have a rough winter surge of cases ahead of us.
In the meantime, health officials are urging everyone to keep up with the precautions to wear a mask, avoid contact with people outside your household, and limit trips to just essential business to slow the spread of the virus, while the roll-out of the vaccines, takes place.