West LA Veterans Affairs campus among first in US to receive COVID-19 vaccines as early as Tuesday

WEST LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- As the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines continues, 37 Veterans Affairs sites across the nation will be among the first groups to receive doses as early as Tuesday.

Health care workers are at the top of the list to receive the vaccine, several of whom were inoculated Monday.

Veterans and staff members at community living centers or nursing homes will also be among the first in line. After that it'll be ICU staff in the VA hospital.

That includes the West Los Angeles VA Medical Center. It's unclear just exactly how many doses each site will receive but officials are preparing to undergo the process of distributing the vaccines.

"We have a deal with nurses, doctors, pharmacists, logisticians, everyone ready to go to answer the call and make sure the vaccine effort is smooth," said Prachi Asher, associate director of the VA Greater L.A. Healthcare System.

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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.

More health care workers and medical facilities are expected to get the vaccine. Kim Taylor, an emergency room nurse at Kaiser Permanente in East Hollywood, was among the first in the state to receive the shot Monday.

Taylor reflected on her part in the state's history as one of the first recipients and also encouraged others to consider taking the vaccine once it becomes widely available.

"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."

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.

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.

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