Tulare County receives first doses of COVID-19 vaccine

Three cases of the vaccine, close to 3,000 doses, were delivered to an undisclosed Tulare County facility.
VISALIA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Three cases of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine arrived at a Tulare County facility on Wednesday morning.

"It's a very exciting day," Tulare County HHSA Spokesperson Carrie Monteiro said. "A light at the end of the tunnel."

On Wednesday afternoon, Kaweah Delta Medical Center received two of the county's three cases, or about 2,000 doses of the vaccine.

"It's a miracle, and it's just a tribute to the talent of our scientists," Kaweah Delta CEO Gary Herbst said prior to the vaccine arrival.

Herbst says the hospital is ready to start vaccinating its workers, and has compiled a list of which staff members will receive a shot first.

"Particularly those that go into patient rooms," he said. "And it's not just a nurse. (It could be) a housekeeper, a dietary worker, a respiratory therapist, a pharmacist. Any of the staff that go onto those COVID units and interact with COVID positive patients,
they're at the top of the list."

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County health officials say the remaining case, or about 1,000 doses, will be divided between Sierra View Medical Center (440 doses), Adventist Health Tulare, and some of the county's skilled nursing and assisted living facilities.

Those facilities will be using their first allotment for both of the required doses, because Tulare County recently found out its second Pfizer shipment will only include two cases, not three.

"And so even though this third case of Pfizer has to be split up a bit, we do understand that Moderna is coming closely behind it by the end of the month," Monteiro said. "So we anticipate it's not going to slow down our efforts to make sure we have enough
vaccinations available for those nursing homes and assisted living centers."

The county says it has secured 5,500 doses of Moderna pending FDA authorization.

County officials say the state has told them they can expect weekly deliveries going forward, rotating between Pfizer and Moderna.

For more news coverage on the coronavirus and COVID-19 go to ABC30.com/coronavirus

Officials at Sierra View Medical Center say they will start the first round of vaccinations on Thursday, continuing through Monday.
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