COVID-19 vaccine arrives in California, Kern County expecting 5,850 doses

La Tanya Forbes, Cheryl Birmingham
Posted at 4:33 PM, Dec 14, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-15 13:07:39-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine has officially touched down in California.

It's the first batch of doses to arrive in the Golden State after months of trials, moving one step closer towards front-line medical workers getting vaccinated.

It is unclear whether all 327,000 doses expected in California have arrived, but Los Angeles International Airport confirmed a portion of that figure arrived at their airport late Sunday night.

The race to administer the vaccine has just begun in Kern County as health officials expect 5,850 doses of Pfizer's COVID vaccine as early as Tuesday.

Healthcare workers are the first in line to receive the vaccine, but even then, the number of medical personnel in the county is higher than the amount of vaccines available during the first round.

"We're anticipating a little over 2,000 vaccines and we have more than 2,000 staff employed and physicians," Dignity Health Dr. Hemmal Kothary said. "So what we are prioritizing who gets the vaccines. So we have to come up with a prioritization list."

BREAKOUT: Below is a list Kern County Public Health provided about how many vaccines will be allocated to various medical facilities:

  • Adventist Health Bakersfield – 1045 doses
  • Adventist Health Delano – 305
  • Adventist Health Tehachapi Valley – 240
  • Bakersfield Heart Hospital – 275
  • Bakersfield Memorial Hospital – 1040
  • Good Samaritan Hospital – 140
  • Kern Medical Center – 1125
  • Kern Valley Healthcare District – 110
  • Mercy Southwest Hospital – 430
  • Mercy Hospital – 795
  • Ridgecrest Regional Hospital – 345

That list would first consider the medical staff working in emergency rooms and ICUs who deal with the most covid patients. But as Kothary told 23ABC News a survey answered by some of their staff shows not all of them are willing to take the first round of the vaccine.

"Currently there are still a lot of people being a little nervous about it. So in general about 50 percent of our staff are willing to take the vaccine first round."

The results were similar at Adventist Health Bakersfield. The hospital's spokesman Kiyoshi Tomono said just over half of the 1,800 employees there participated in a similar survey.

"About 45 percent of the folks that responded are indicating that they are willing to get the vaccine, which I think is encouraging. There are additional folks who said that they are interested, but not sure they want to be in the first round and I think a lot of that has to do with kind of the uncertainty being a brand new vaccine. This is a brand new process, people have some natural fears that they are expressing."

While those facilities wait for the vaccine they are providing their staff with information that addresses fears and myths surrounding the vaccine.

In the meantime, health officials are expecting an ample amounts of the vaccine to be distributed within the next couple weeks.