Ventura County begins distribution of COVID-19 vaccine to health-care workers

OXNARD, Calif. (KABC) -- COVID-19 vaccinations for health-care workers began in Ventura County on Wednesday as the region continues to see a surge in cases.

The first doses from Pfizer's vaccine are going to doctors and nurses, and then to other vulnerable groups like residents of nursing homes.

Julie Svolos, a nursing assistant, said it was a relief to get the vaccine.

"It relieves a lot of the stress," she said. "In the beginning of the pandemic we were stressed out. We didn't know what to expect. COVID was so new in March and April. But now that we have a vaccine and we're going in the correct direction I'm very excited and I feel confident going to work with COVID patients."

Ventura County reported almost 500 new coronavirus cases on Wednesday, as the entire Southern California region faces a looming shortage of hospital beds, particularly in intensive-care units. The region's ICUs have less than 1% of ICU capacity available.

The general public might not be eligible for the scarce doses until the spring.

VACCINE CALCULATOR: When will I be eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine?
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Since the coronavirus started spreading across the globe in late 2019, scientists have been looking for a vaccine. Now that vaccines are proven, it will ultimately be up to each state to determine who will get the vaccine, and when?

So county health officials continue to warn of the importance of wearing masks, practicing social distancing and avoiding gatherings in order to flatten the curve until enough vaccine can be distributed.

"Adhere to the stay at home order," said Rigoberto Vargas, with Ventura County's health department. "As you know we are to be in that stay-at-home order for a minimum of three weeks. And the way it's looking right now it's going to be much longer than three weeks."
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