Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines arrive in California

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Five healthcare workers at Kaiser Permanente Hospital in Hollywood were among the first Californians to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, ushering in a new phase of a pandemic that has killed more than 21,000 people in the state and devastated the ‘economy.
Gov. Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti watched the first LA County workers get vaccinated, the start of what will be a long campaign to vaccinate California, starting with healthcare workers from First line.

The vaccine offers new promise as California faces the darkest moment of the COVID crisis, with cases reaching unprecedented levels and hospitals filling up. The vaccine will not change these dire circumstances, but it does offer hope.

The state’s initial vaccine allocation – around 327,000 doses – will go primarily to acute care hospitals to be administered to healthcare workers, though some counties have said they will send part of it to healthcare facilities as well. qualified nurses.

The vaccine is not expected to be available to all who want it until at least spring.

A working group of scientists and experts representing California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington have already reviewed the vaccine from Pfizer and BioNTech and approved its safety.

The national vaccination campaign also started on Monday.

“It’s the 24th kilometer of a marathon. People are tired. But we also recognize that [the] the end is in sight, ”said Dr Chris Dale of the Swedish Health Services in Seattle.

San Francisco has received 2,000 doses of the vaccine, the city’s public health chief said on Monday.

“We are on the threshold of a historic moment for our city: the deployment of the COVID-19 vaccine begins,” said Dr. Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health.

The vaccine was sent to the city-run Zuckerberg General Hospital in San Francisco.

“It will be a long deployment – and too late for this surge,” Colfax said, noting that more San Franciscans are infected with the coronavirus than at any time during the pandemic.

“I think it’s very important to take a step back for a while and realize how dire our situation has become,” Colfax said.

Over the past week, the city has reported more than 200 new cases of coronavirus per day, and there is no sign the outbreak is abating, he said.

In San Diego County, three boxes of doses arrived on Monday, the county tweeted. These doses will be used by both the county itself – which operates the San Diego County Mental Hospital – as well as local hospitals. Five medical centers are expected to receive allocations from the first batch of vaccine, but it is not known how many doses they would receive.

Three other hospitals, including Rady Children’s Hospital, will receive the vaccine directly from Pfizer, but not on Monday. A spokesperson for Rady said the hospital is expected to receive the vaccine on Tuesday.

In total, San Diego County will initially receive 28,275 doses of the vaccine. Each will be administered to the hospital health workers most at risk.

Although the mass vaccination against COVID-19 may now be months away – a prospect that portends the eventual end of the pandemic – officials have stressed that now is not the time to relax.

“We call on all Californians to continue to do their part by following local and state advice, wearing a mask and staying at home,” Newsom said in a statement. “Together, we will get through this and move forward towards a healthy, safer and resilient California for all.”

This is all the more the case as the state, like much of the country, is in the grip of the worst wave of the disease. Record numbers of people are infected and hospitalized with COVID-19, and space in intensive care units across the state has shrunk to dangerous levels.

The number of coronavirus patients hospitalized statewide topped 13,000 on Saturday. This is a record high and an increase of 76% from two weeks ago, according to the latest state data.

That figure includes 1,236 people hospitalized for COVID-19 in Orange County and 4,203 in Los Angeles County – both records.

COVID-19 patients are also flocking to intensive care units at unprecedented levels. Statewide, there were 2,820 on Saturday, a record 65% more than two weeks ago.

Amid the current coronavirus outbreak, health officials are keeping a particularly careful eye on the state’s intensive care units – precious resources that are increasingly in demand but limited by the number of hospital beds and the number of highly qualified professionals available to staff them.

The concern, experts say, is that death rates could climb if ICUs can no longer accommodate the sickest patients.

“The worst-case scenario is what we saw in the springtime in New York City and northern Italy, where there were literally people in gurneys in hallways who were dying or near death, and that is beyond a tragedy, ”said Dr. Paul Simon, scientific director of the LA County Department of Public Health, in a briefing last week. “It’s just something we can’t let happen. We must do everything to avoid this. ”

Already, more Californians are dying than at any time from the pandemic. Over the past week, the state has recorded an average of 158 deaths from COVID-19 each day, according to data compiled by The Times.

Officials have regularly pointed out that due to the delayed nature of the coronavirus, it typically takes two to three weeks from the time a person is infected for them to fall ill enough to go to the hospital. In other words, the current number of hospitalizations is fueled in large part by people who were exposed to the virus weeks ago. And the number of infections has been skyrocketing ever since.

Over the past week, California has averaged 31,777 new coronavirus cases per day – the highest level on record and a whopping 128% increase from two weeks ago, according to data from The Times.

The fear is that the massive increase in cases will ultimately trigger a tidal wave of new hospitalizations, straining an already exhausted healthcare system.

The scale of what some officials have called a push on top of a push could be staggering. LA County’s record number of hospitalizations, for example, comes from infections confirmed two weeks ago, as the county saw an average of 4,200 new cases of coronavirus a day.

As of Friday, the average number of cases had risen to 10,200 new infections per day – meaning that if the same proportion were maintained, there could be more than 7,300 COVID-19 patients in hospital in two weeks, including nearly 1,700 in intensive care, said LA County Director of Public Health Barbara Ferrer.

There are only about 2,100 adult intensive care beds in all of the county’s hospitals, she added, and these are also needed to treat serious conditions other than COVID-19.

“We are on a very dangerous path to see unprecedented and catastrophic suffering and death,” she said.

In the face of the latest wave, California officials have reinstated sweeping restrictions on businesses and activities across much of the state.

These new rules take effect when a state-defined region sees its available ICU capacity drop below 15%.

This has already happened in three regions: Southern California, Greater Sacramento, and the San Joaquin Valley. The other two regions, the Bay Area and rural northern California, remained above the threshold.

While the additional restrictions are undoubtedly painful for businesses that have already been hit by coronavirus-related limitations and closures – as well as unwelcome for residents desperate for vacation relief – officials say the arrival The recent vaccine release is not just a light at the end of the tunnel, but a call for everyone to do their part to stop the outbreak and prevent unnecessary suffering and death.

“There will still be time when we have to respect the rules, the mask and the distance, keep our hands clean and not party like in 1999 and go to a big rave tomorrow night because I got my vaccine” said Desi Kotis, UC Director of Pharmacy at San Francisco Health. “We’re still going to have to be patient, and it’s going to take time. But the light at the end of the tunnel is no longer a train coming back to us. It is a ray of hope. ”

Times editors Alex Wigglesworth, Tracy Wilkinson and Maya Lau contributed to this report, as did Jonathan Wosen and Andrew Dyer of the San Diego Union-Tribune and the Associated Press.



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