Valley Children's administers COVID-19 vaccine to hospital healthcare workers

Video posted to Instagram shows Dr. Peter Witt, Valley Children's Medical Director of Plastic Surgery, cheering as he receives his vaccination.
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) -- Healthcare workers at Valley Children's Hospital are among the first to get the Pfizer vaccine in the Central Valley.

Video provided by the hospital gives us a glimpse inside their vaccine clinic. Laura Yamamoto was one of the first 140 to get the shot.

She just returned to work last week after surviving her own fierce battle against the coronavirus.

"I was extremely sick," she said. "I had to be in the ICU for two weeks and I lost my brother and father at the same time."

The hospital received enough doses of the vaccine for a total of 535 employees, with a second dose making its way to Madera County in the next three weeks.

"The hope is to provide protection to as many hospital personnel as we could," said Nael Mhaissen, medical director of pediatric infectious disease at Valley Children's Hospital.

Valley Children's will serve as a vaccine storage hub for the entire county.

At the moment, they're holding an additional 440 doses in their ultra-cold freezer for Madera Community Hospital, which will begin vaccinating staff Thursday.

"We are making sure that we are hitting all the clinical staff, as well as our support staff because if we don't have them, we can't run the hospital," said Mark Brown, Madera Chief Nursing Officer

Brown said they'll start by vaccinating 25 of their 800 employees on day one.

They're also staggering vaccinations in case of side effects, which could ultimately impact staffing.

"We are making sure that they come at the end of their three-day shift so if they need to be able to recover at home from any kind of side effects," he said.

Madera Community and Valley Children's both expect to continue vaccinating staff through next week.

Health officials anticipate getting the Moderna vaccine next, once it receives emergency authorization from the FDA.
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