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UC Davis Medical Center waiting, preparing for Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine

UC Davis Health officials say as soon as the vaccines arrive and get in the ultra-cold freezer, healthcare workers will be getting vaccinated.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in Sacramento on Tuesday. One of the first places to get it is UC Davis Medical Center.

The newly approved vaccine will require an “ultra-cold freezer” for storage. UC Davis Vice Chancellor of Human Health Sciences and CEO David Lubarsky said the hospital is eager to start administering the vaccine.  

“Literally within the first hour that those vaccines hit our pharmacy storeroom and get into our freezer, we’re going to be calling people up by their appointments,” Lubarsky said. 

Wednesday is when Keizer Permanente in Sacramento will receive their vaccine. To prepare for the moment, the hospital also installed a new ultra-cold freezer.

The state is requiring the first batch of vaccine to go to health care workers on the front line. Around 15,000 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines are en route to Sacramento County and right now all have already been assigned to hospital staff. 

Dr. Richard Pan, a state senator and a pediatric physician, said getting the general public inoculated will take time.  

“It’s going to take months for everyone to get the vaccine,” Dr. Pan said.

Dr. Pan said the coronavirus vaccine comes in two doses, so recipients won’t be fully protected from the virus after the first inoculation. 

“It takes a couple of weeks to kick in. Then the second dose is three weeks later and that will provide you more protection,” Dr. Pan said.

When the vaccine is available, Dr. Pan said it will be much like getting a flu shot. The inoculation will take seconds to administer, then a doctor will monitor for any possible reactions. 

“We will continue to monitor people after they get the vaccine but let me remind you this vaccine has already been tested in tens of thousands of people,” Dr. Pan said.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that California is now expecting 393,000 more doses of the vaccine to arrive next week. With more vaccines on the way, Dr. Pan is urging people to continue to social distance and wear a mask. 

He said you won't be fully protected until you get both the vaccine doses and until about 75% to 80% of the state gets the vaccination.

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