The first 5,850 doses of Pfizer vaccine have arrived in Santa Clara County, "providing a glimmer of hope in the long fight" against COVID-19, officials announced on Tuesday.
This batch is the first of the initial 17,550 allocated by the state. The remaining doses will be shipped from the manufacturer directly to the hospitals later this week.
All 17,550 will be distributed to people in the highest risk categories: front line health care workers at acute care hospitals as well as staff and residents at skilled nursing facilities.
Public health officials caution that despite the vaccine, "we remain in the most dangerous phase of the pandemic."
COVID-19 cases are at an all-time high in the county, with nearly 6,000 cases reported in the last week, according to county data.
There have also been 24 new deaths raising the total to 553 and 89 new hospitalizations.
Currently, just 16% of intensive care unit beds are available and three hospitals -- Regional Medical Center of San Jose, O'Connor, and St. Louise Regional -- have reached capacity.
State officials predict that by the new year, the Bay Area will reach its ICU capacity.
Santa Clara County, along with 11 other Bay Area counties will adhere to the state and federal guidelines that set the sequence for groups to get the vaccine.
It will likely take several months before everyone who wants the vaccine can get it, county Testing Officer Dr. Marty Fenstersheib said at a news conference on Monday.
To see the state's guidelines, click here.