Administration of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine began yesterday as the United States approached 300,000 deaths.
Sandra Lindsay, an intensive care unit nurse at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New York, was the first person in the U.S. to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.
“I hope this marks the beginning to the end of a very painful time in our history,” Lindsay said. “I want to instill public confidence that the vaccine is safe. We’re in a pandemic and we all need to do our part to put an end to the pandemic and to not give up too soon. There’s a light at the end of the tunnel.”
The rollout begins
Lindsay is part of the first phase of people that will be given the vaccine. In addition to high-risk health workers, this group includes first responders, older adults and people at significantly high risk of severe disease due to underlying conditions. Phase 2 opens up to K-12 teachers and staff, critical workers in high-risk industries, people in prisons or jails and all other older and high-risk adults not included in the first round. The final phase is expected to be reached by summer or fall of next year.
The vaccine requires two doses, administered three weeks apart. Indeed, you may feel flu-like side effects after receiving the vaccine, but that is a normal sign that your body is building protection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Vaccine doses will be given at no cost, though providers may charge a fee for giving the shot. More information is to come as distribution expands.
Precautionary measures remain imperative
Across California, ICU capacity is dwindling. In Northern California, ICU capacity comes in at 29 percent, while the San Joaquin Valley has no room. Southern California, which includes the particularly hard-hit Los Angeles, is at 2.7 percent capacity. The Golden State has seen over 1.5 million cases and 21,000 deaths. An overwhelming majority of cases (940,264) come from the 18-49 age group.
“As California faces reduced ICU capacity, we must remain vigilant over the next few weeks,” California Gov. Gavin Newsom said. “More vaccine doses will be arriving in the weeks and months ahead, which will be distributed and administered quickly and equitably across all of California. As always, it remains critical that we continue to take steps to protect ourselves, our families and our communities by staying home, wearing masks and following local health directives.”