Health care workers among first to get COVID-19 vaccine in Long Beach

Brandon Gatling, a Registered Nurse at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, is among the first health care workers in Long Beach to receive the Pfizer-manufactured COVID-19 vaccine.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The City of Long Beach is now administering COVID-19 vaccinations to frontline health care workers.

"We are going to really begin the rollout of our vaccine program at all of our hospitals, and our clinics and our nursing and skilled care facilities," said Mayor Robert Garcia.

Garcia said that the city will receive up to 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine and expect to receive 11,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine.

"I feel so honored and humbled to be chosen to receive the vaccine," said Registered Nurse at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center Brandon Gatling. "I'm so very excited."

Gatling is among the first health care workers in Long Beach to receive the vaccine.

"Hopefully, one day, now that this vaccine is here, we can start to move forward and look towards an end," Gatling said.

Garcia said that the case count in the last month has accounted for 42% of all cases in Long Beach since the city first started reporting data in March.

"There have been 311 families in our community that have lost someone to COVID-19," Garcia said.

Garcia lost both his mother and stepfather to the virus earlier this year.

"According to our health department, we have approximately about 10% of ICU beds left here within our system," Garcia said. "But that number is dangerously close to being overwhelmed by our other area hospitals that are close to full."

Priority will be given to nurses, physicians and health care workers who come into contact with COVID-19 patients.

"There will be many challenging days ahead," said CEO of Long Beach Memorial Medical Center John Bishop. "But there will be a day when this pandemic is behind us."

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