Orange County expecting 1st COVID-19 vaccines by Wednesday

ORANGE, Calif. (KABC) -- Orange County can expect to see the first doses of Pfizer's authorized COVID-19 vaccine by Wednesday, according to county health officials.

After receiving FDA emergency use authorization, Pfizer began shipping out doses of the vaccine around the country over the weekend, with the first Southern California doses arriving Sunday night.

Orange County health officials say the first vaccines will be given to health-care workers, such as respiratory therapists and other staff in intensive-care units and emergency rooms.

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Dr. Susan Huang, medical director with UCI Health, says they expect to distribute about 3,000 doses to staff.

"It's absolutely urgent for everybody to get vaccinated - health-care workers and priority patients and everybody," Huang said. "As frontline workers we are absolutely committed to getting our doses, about 3,000, out to our staff, as fast as we can get it out. We've been working all weekend long to prepare how to do that."

One of the keys, she said, is reassuring people that despite the expedited vaccine development and government review process, it is safe.

"We in the United States do not skip steps," she said.

Development, research and manufacturing, she said, can move faster if more resources are put into personnel and equipment, but the vaccines still go through a thorough review.

"We are very confident that the method in which these vaccines were created is to the highest U.S. standards."
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