Only seven hospitals in California will be the first to get Pfizer’s coronavirus vaccine, and some of them are in the Bay Area.
If the federal government approves its application for “emergency use authorization” of its COVID-19 vaccine, health care workers and first responders at UCSF could be the first to get it before Christmas.
“We expect it to come on board, physically, at around the second week of December if all goes according to plan,” said Dr. Peter-Chin Hong,UCSF professor of medicine and infectious disease specialist.
UCSF and Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital are two of just seven California hospitals chosen to get the Pfizer vaccine first, if it’s approved.
Chin-hong says that the hospitals on the list are all holding meetings right now to decide how it’ll be distributed and who exactly is at the front of the line to get it.
“They include those are working in the emergency department, those in the intensive care unit, certain specialists like infectious disease doctors, pulmonologists, certain staff members or therapists like occupational therapists,” he said, adding that the coronavirus vaccine has to be stored in really cold temperatures and that UCSF already has the special freezers it needs, ready to go.
He says the military will be involved in the process to ship the vaccine to each facility but that those plans are still a work in progress.
“Even though it may not get into the arms of most Americans until maybe the end of late spring or early summer, it is something to hold onto as a metaphor or a symbol of how far we’ve come,” Chin-Hong said.
Once the vaccine is available for the general public, he expects it’ll be free for everyone and could be available at places like Target, CVS, and walgreens.
But at this point, health experts don’t know if the shot prevents someone from passing the virus to others, so they recommend you don’t ditch the mask just yet.
Also, you’ll need two doses of the vaccine to be protected from COVID-19.
“You’re going to get some protection after the first shot but the best protection and the best probability of protection is going to be there about 28 days after the second dose, likely,” said Chin-Hong.
Some of the possible side effects of getting the vaccine include:
- muscle aches
Even though Chin-Hong says more than 70% of us need to be vaccinated before we see community benefit, but this could be a big step in the right direction.
“It’s a huge deal. It’s been long coming. I think it’s the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel,” he said.