Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital announced Monday it will begin administering its first COVID-19 vaccines Thursday, as Gov. Gavin Newsom visited a hospital in L.A. County that administered some of the very first doses to health care workers in the state.
Newsom stood by as five nurses received their COVID-19 vaccines at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, calling it a historic moment for California.
“It is a day where we can lay claim to the fresh air of progress versus that stale air of normalcy, but nonetheless, as was stated, we have to be sober and mindful about the moment we are in, which is challenging and trying,” Newsom said.
Newsom added that California received as many COVID-19 vaccine doses in the state Monday as there were new cases statewide, with more than 33,000 cases reported.
“We are in the midst of the worst moment of this pandemic, so today is hopeful and reason to be optimistic, but let’s be mindful of where we really are in terms of this pandemic, and forgive me for saying that, but I am very, very cautious about the moment we’re in,” he added.
These vaccines were part of L.A. County’s first batch of approximately 83,000 vaccine doses, which are expected to be administered to health care workers, prioritized based on risk, at 83 acute-care hospitals across the county.
While the exact number of doses is not yet known, Henry Mayo is set to begin administering vaccines to its frontline health care workers over the course of several days beginning Thursday morning, according to hospital spokesman Patrick Moody.
This comes after U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials granted emergency authorization of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Friday evening, followed by the California-led Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup, which also includes Washington, Oregon and Nevada, unanimously confirming the vaccine is “safe and efficacious” Sunday after a thorough review. The Moderna vaccine is expected to undergo the same process in the coming weeks.
With the initial vaccine supplies limited, Public Health officials have planned a phased roll-out, with initial priority expected to be given to health care workers, followed by residents of long-term care facilities, who are expected to receive vaccines from CVS and Walgreens pharmacies through a federal partnership program.
Following this distribution, Phase 1b vaccination efforts are set to focus on essential workers, while Phase 1c is set to focus on high-risk groups, including seniors and those with chronic health conditions.
Public Health officials expect to receive two additional batches of vaccine doses in December, followed by weekly allocations thereafter in the new year.
Even so, it will be several months before the vaccine is widely available, officials said.
For more information on L.A.County’s COVID-19 vaccination efforts, visit publichealth.lacounty.gov/acd/ncorona2019/vaccine.