Kaiser Permanente nurse in East Hollywood among 1st in California to receive COVID-19 vaccine

ByABC7.com staff KABC logo
Tuesday, December 15, 2020
LA nurse among 1st in CA to receive COVID-19 vaccine
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As California began receiving the first shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines, one of the first people in the state to be inoculated Monday was a nurse at Kaiser Permanente in East Hollywood.

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As California began receiving the first shipments of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccines, one of the first people in the state to be inoculated Monday was a nurse at Kaiser Permanente in East Hollywood.

Joined by Mayor Eric Garcetti and L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis, Gov. Gavin Newsom visited the hospital, where four other people also received a shot.

About 83,000 doses are expected to arrive in Los Angeles County this week. A FedEx plane carrying the region's first shipments landed at Los Angeles International Airport Sunday night, according to the airport.

Health care workers are expected to be the first to receive the vaccine, which is administered in two doses three weeks apart.

Kim Taylor, an emergency room nurse at Kaiser, reflected on her part in the state's history as one of the first recipients of the vaccine.

"We frontline workers have been working around the clock over the past nine months, sacrificing so much of what we do and love to take care of our patients," she said. "We've been doing this while trying to take care of our own families and keep them safe. What I want you guys to know is that help is on the way. Today is just the first step."

She also encouraged others to consider taking the vaccine once it becomes widely available.

But until then, Taylor stressed that "the best way that you can support us nurses right now" is to continue wearing masks, avoiding gatherings and practicing physical distancing.

Kaiser was among four facilities in the state to receive vaccine shipments Monday and more will be delivered to 24 additional sites on Tuesday, Newsom said.

A select group of hospitals that have the capability to store the vaccines will be getting doses as early as Tuesday. That includes the VA Greater Los Angeles Healthcare System. It's one of 37 VA sites to get first access to the vaccine. Veterans and staff members at community living centers or nursing homes will be the first in line. After that it'll be ICU staff in the VA hospital.

Monday's statewide shipments consisted of 33,150 doses, which is part of the overall 327,000 doses the state expects to receive in the first batch from Pfizer.

However hopeful it feels to finally have a vaccine, the governor said the progress comes at sobering moment for the state.

"Let's put this moment in perspective. It is a day where we can lay claim to the fresh air of progress, versus that stale air of normalcy," Newsom said. "But nonetheless... we have to be sober and mindful about the moment we are in, which is challenging and trying. Today we received as many doses in the entire state of California as there were new cases."

An exact timeline for the general public to receive the vaccine has not been specified, but it is expected to be well into 2021.

Meanwhile, Los Angeles County broke a record for coronavirus hospitalizations over the weekend and San Francisco County reported its highest number of COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began.

WATCH: CA, LA County break COVID-19 records again as hospitals receive vaccine

More than 30,000 COVID-19 cases were reported Sunday statewide, pushing California's total just over 1,550,000. Millions of Californians in the majority of the state are under stay-at-home orders.

Barbara Ferrer, L.A. County's public health director, said case numbers could skyrocket after the holidays.

"These Thanksgiving surges of cases, on top of already rising cases, is creating extraordinary stress on our health care system," Ferrer said. "Should this be followed by another surge related to the winter holiday, the numbers of hospitalizations and patients in the ICU could become catastrophic."

Southern California's ICU capacity dropped to 4.2% as of Sunday.