COVID-19 Vaccine Distribution to Begin in San Diego County Next Week

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Hospital and healthcare administrators across San Diego are working this weekend to prepare for the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine over the next few days.

This weekend, the first doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine will be moved from Pfizer facilities to FedEx and UPS hubs, then to 636 locations nationwide including facilities in San Diego as part of Operation Warp Speed.

“This is a monumental week for us all as we distribute the first millions of doses of the vaccine to the American people,” said Army Gen. Gustave Perna, Chief Operating Officer of Operation Warp Speed.

According to Dr. Wilma Wooten, public health officer for the County of San Diego, San Diego county should receive about 28,000 doses, enough to provide 70% of our healthcare workers with access to the vaccine. 

And at a time when ICU beds are getting closer to capacity, the arrival of the first doses of a vaccine couldn't come soon enough, a local ICU Nurse told NBC 7.

UC San Diego Health is one of the locations that will be getting the first doses.

A spokesperson told NBC 7 “We hope to begin actual inoculations just a few days after the shipment arrives.”

“Make no mistake, distribution has begun. Right now, boxes are being packed and loaded with vaccine with emphasis on quality control,” Army Gen. Gustave Perna said.

Part of that control is cold storage – while the vaccine is in transit and when it arrives on site 

Ben Macapugay, a spokesperson with Alvarado Hospital Medical Center told NBC 7, “Key logistics underway include education, prioritizing disbursement, tracking, and handling the vaccine, which requires two doses per person and must be stored at minus 70 degrees Celsius.” 

In addition to healthcare locations allocated through the state, the Department of Defense included Naval Medical Center San Diego on it’s list for the first doses.

They are also preparing for the vaccine’s arrival, which will also be shared with Camp Pendleton Hospital.

Responding to questions about whether the emergency approval was rushed the FDA said “We worked quickly because the urgency of this pandemic not any other external pressure.” Adding that it was based on science and data. 

The first shipments are expected to arrive at locations on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday and then over the next week.

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