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Huntington Hospital Receives Initial Shipment of the COVID-19 Vaccine

Published on Thursday, December 17, 2020 | 2:36 pm
A patient care associate is vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine at Huntington Hospital on Thursday, December 17, 2020. (Photo courtesy Huntington Hospital)

Local healthcare workers have already begun to be vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine, according to information from Huntington Hospital released Thursday night.

The announcement came after the city’s health department announced yesterday afternoon that 1,950 doses of the vaccine had arrived in the city.

“We are excited for these safe and effective vaccines to arrive in Pasadena, and I want to thank Huntington Hospital and all of our partners who are helping distribute the vaccine in an equitable and efficient matter,” said Dr. Ying-Ying Goh, health officer and director of Pasadena Public Health Department.

“Although the arrival of vaccines has given a lot of hope, we are still seeing an upward trend of an alarming surge in cases, hospitalizations, and sadly more deaths. It’s up to each and every one of us to do our part to reduce the spread of COVID-19.”

This shipment was delivered directly to Huntington Hospital. The hospital said it plans to offer the vaccine to all its employees, physicians and allied health providers in short order.

“We have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our dedicated healthcare workers who have bravely served their community during this pandemic,” said Lori J. Morgan, MD, president and CEO of Huntington Hospital. “Though we are currently responding to record-breaking number of COVID-19 patients and know the end to this pandemic is not yet in sight, we rightfully pause to appreciate this moment in the history of healthcare and our hospital.”

Sade Luna, who works in Huntington Hospital’s environmental services department, was among the first frontline employees vaccinated. (Photo courtesy Huntington Hospital)

Sade Luna, who works in Huntington Hospital’s environmental services department, was among the first frontline employees vaccinated, according to the hospital.

“I feel amazing because we are making history today,” the hospital quoted Luna as saying after she was vaccinated. “We’ve got to start somewhere, you know? And if we don’t start now, then we’re not going to be done with this pandemic.”

Additional Moderna vaccine is expected to arrive in the coming weeks.

The hospital is facing a dire wave of coronavirus patients. As of Thursday afternoon, healthcare officials were treating 147 patients battling the virus and 26 in the Intensive Care Unit at the Huntington Hospital.

Healthcare workers and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities will be the first to receive the vaccine.

Vials containing the first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine are unpacked at Huntington Hospital after arrival on Thursday, December 17, 2020. (Photo courtesy of Huntington Hospital)

The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines require two doses and provide the same efficacy. Pfizer’s vaccine requires 21 days in between the first and second doses, while Moderna’s requires 28 days.

The Pasadena Public Health Department is managing the vaccine distribution process and will be following guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the California Department of Public Health.

The city has the infrastructure to store and distribute the vaccines, officials said.

Vaccine distribution is a normal function of the department. Every year, team members practice for emergency vaccine distribution by conducting mass vaccination events such as free flu vaccine clinics.

When the COVID-19 vaccine is made available to the general public, it will be provided at no charge and will be paid for by the federal government or by insurance companies.

“While the vaccine gives us great hope for the coming year, we need your help as we continue to experience a crush of COVID-19 patients,” said Dr. Morgan.

“We are pleading with the community to help us stop the current surge by following health orders: limit activities to those that are essential only, continue to wear a mask and remain physically distance when engaging in essential activities, and especially refrain from gathering with anyone outside of your household and non-essential travel during the holidays.”

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