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Huntington Hospital Vaccination Campaign for Health Care Professionals Well Underway

Published on Saturday, December 19, 2020 | 6:47 am
Sade Luna, who works in Huntington Hospital’s environmental services department, was among the first frontline employees vaccinated (at left). Other vaccinations continued Thursday and Friday (right). (Images courtesy Huntington Hospital)

Huntington Hospital personnel continued to administer doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine to health care professionals Friday, the local piece of an ambitious effort to ensure the health and availability of doctors, nurses and other front-line workers throughout L.A. county amid surging virus cases and hospitalizations.

“We are thrilled to be able to offer this vaccine to our employees, physicians and the allied health providers that have served our community during this difficult time,” said Huntington Hospital Senior Manager of Public Relations and Media Dorey Huston.

Huston said that based on the information the hospital received from the Pasadena Public Health Department and other agencies it is possible Huntington could receive enough doses to offer a vaccine to “everyone in our enterprise” by the end of January.

The county hopes to vaccinate 6,000 workers at the hospitals by Christmas, and 10,000 total by the end of the year. 

Huston said it is important that Pasadenans follow COVID-19 prevention protocols because it will be some time before the vaccine will be available to the general public.

“While we share everyone’s excitement about the vaccine, it will not change the course of the pandemic in the short term,” she said. “The soonest vaccines could become widely available to the public is the spring of 2021.”

“But if effective vaccines become available — and if most people get them — the pandemic could drastically shrink. This means we are one giant step closer to getting our lives back to normal – and why we are encouraging everyone to get a vaccine when offered.”

Statewide, 327,600 doses of the Pfizer vaccine were allocated to California, and Gov. Gavin Newsom said another 393,900 doses from Pfizer were expected next week, although that allotment is now anticipated to be smaller than originally planned.

The state is expected to receive 672,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine by the end of the month. The state hopes to receive as many as 2.16 million total doses by the end of the year, Newsom said.

County Public Health Director Barbara Ferrer said last week that the county hopes to receive its second allotment — roughly 250,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine — early next week. But she said Wednesday the timing and size of the county’s next allotment of vaccine had not yet been finalized, likely due to uncertainty at the time over the federal approval process.

Much of the second dose allotment will be distributed directly skilled nursing facilities, allowing them to administer it right away instead of waiting for a federal distribution agreement with CVS and Walgreens to begin on roughly Dec. 28.

Long-term care facilities will still receive the vaccine through CVS and Walgreens.

The Moderna vaccine does not require the same ultra-cold storage as the Pfizer vaccine.

After the distribution of vaccines to health care workers, skilled nursing facilities and long-term care staff and residents is completed, followed by “essential workers,” priority will then move to people at highest risk of severe illness from the virus, such as seniors or those with underlying health conditions.

Distribution to the general public will follow, but the timeline on when that will occur remains cloudy.

“Given the current surge,” Huston said, “we are asking the public to please adhere to health orders, and especially not to gather with anyone outside of their household or engage in non-essential travel.”

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