OAKLAND, Calif. - Bay Area health officials say the first shipments of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could arrive within one week if the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's independent advisory panel grants an emergency authorization use for Pfizer's vaccine at a public hearing set for Thursday.
FDA scientists reviewed Pfizer's data and said the initial results showed the vaccine to be safe and effective. Pfizer reported that results from about 38,000 trial subjects showed an efficacy rate above 90%.
A 90-year-old British woman became the first to receive Pfizer's coronavirus vaccine Tuesday after the British government approved the vaccine's distribution.
President Trump held an Operation Warp Speed Vaccine summit at the White House and signed an executive order saying Americans should get priority for the vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna, which is seeking FDA approval next week for its own vaccine candidate developed in a partnership with the National Institutes of Health.
"If for any reason we have any problems, we will be instituting the Defense Production Act," said President Trump, referring to the act which allows the federal government to direct private companies to manufacture needed items.
President-elect JOe Biden said he's setting a goal of 100 million vaccinations in his first 100 days in the White House.
"We're gonna need Congress to fully fund vaccine distribution to all corners of the country," said President-elect Biden.
Bay Area health officials say they're preparing to roll out vaccines as early as next week.
"We're hearing from the state that we could be receiving vaccines shipped to our local health department as soon as the 15th of December," said Dr. Christopher Farnitano, the Contra Costa County Health Officer.
Contra Costa County officials say they purchased one of the specialized ultralow freezers needed to store the Pfizer vaccine. Moderna's vaccine requires regular refrigeration. Both Pfizer and Moderna's vaccines require two doses.
"We'll be using the California vaccine registry to keep track of who's gotten which vaccine because you can't mix and match," said Farnitano.
Frontline health care workers are getting first priority.
"We know there are about 327,000 doses coming to California initially, but there's about 2.5 million people, health care workers in the first tier, the first priority tier," said Deborah Pacyna, a California Association of Health Facilities spokeswoman, representing most of the state's skilled nursing centers.
Pacyna says Walgreens and CVS pharmacies are preparing mobile clinics to vaccinate the high priority nursing home residents.
"There are about 100,000 people in skilled nursing today in California," said Pacyna.
Federal officials told USA Today that 5% of the vaccine doses will be kept on reserve in case something goes wrong with the first shipments.
The second doses won't be shipped until they're needed 3-4 weeks later.
Jana Katsuyama is a reporter for KTVU. Email Jana at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow her on Twitter @JanaKTVU or Facebook @NewsJana or ktvu.com.