HANFORD, Calif. (KFSN) -- Kings County received its first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, one day after Tulare County received its supply.
Officials at Kings County Public Health say the vaccine will be a powerful tool in the fight against COVID-19, adding that vaccinating frontline healthcare workers first will ensure they're able to provide critical care during the winter surge.
According to state data, the county has seen 2,200 new cases of the virus over the last 14 days, including 500 at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility in Corcoran.
On Friday, the full amount of the county's first vaccine allocation - 975 doses of the Pfizer vaccine - will be delivered to its only hospital, Adventist Health Hanford.
"We're getting it done," said Adventist Health Director of Infection Prevention Teri Boggess. "It's got a lot of moving pieces, and a lot of puzzle pieces that all need to fit together. So it's quite a challenge."
Boggess is part of the team coordinating the distribution of vaccines at Adventist Health's four Central Valley medical centers.
For Hanford, the doses will be stored in an ultra-low temperature freezer over the weekend, and then taken out in increments starting on Monday when staff vaccinations begin in the hospital cafeteria.
Boggess says more employees have signed up than expected, including some who changed their mind after the first survey.
"Our staff is excited to have the vaccines so that they can not only protect themselves and their patients, but protect the community," Boggess said. "So we're excited it's here and we feel that it will bring an end to the pandemic."
"I think is the first step," Kings County Supervisor Doug Verboon said. "I hope they keep coming."
County health officials say their second shipment will consist of 100 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
Pending FDA authorization, it should arrive early next week.
The limited quantities mean most Kings County residents will wait months before getting their shots.
And that's why county officials continue to encourage masking, distancing, and testing.
"If you can go through it and get negative tests all the time, then you're doing the right thing," Verboon said. "And if you get a positive test, you (should) go back and reflect (on) where you've been and don't do that again."
Kings County Public Health was offering free COVID-19 tests and flu shots in the parking lot of Lemoore High School on Thursday.
But they have five other similar testing events before Christmas.
Click here for the schedule.
Kings County receives first COVID-19 vaccine shipment, will be delivered to Adventist hospital on Friday
According to state data, Kings County has seen 2,200 new cases of the virus over the last 14 days.