SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- As the Bay Area begins the process of vaccinating the public against COVID-19, health officials know they have a monumental task ahead.
In Santa Clara County, the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines are scheduled to arrive on Tuesday and will be allocated to staff members at long-term care facilities.
The initial supply, which totals 17,550 doses, will also be distributed to hospital systems countywide by end of the week. Of the allotment, Stanford Health Care says it expects to receive 3,900 doses, and plans to begin vaccinating its workforce on Saturday.
"Many, many hours of planning to make sure we have the right people in place, the right product in place, the right sequencing with all the ethics in place," said Lisa Schilling, vice president of quality, safety and clinical effectiveness for Stanford Health Care. "People who are at the frontline of care and service, and they're not just doctors and nurses, they're environmental service workers, they're unit assistance, anybody who's providing direct care in the higher acuity environment."
One of the first people in the area that'll likely get the vaccine is clinical nurse, Victoria Burian, who works in the COVID-19 ICU at Stanford.
"Being a healthcare worker and seeing it firsthand, COVID is real and it's like nothing I've ever seen before," said Burian. "If the science says that the vaccine is safe, sign me up, I'm ready for it, and I'm ready for this to end a lot of suffering for many people."
County officials say they also expect to receive approximately 39,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine next week. More will be allocated in the coming weeks and months.
"We are hoping that these vaccines will eventually spell the end of this pandemic," said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, the county's COVID-19 testing officer. "Let's all stay safe however, and be patient, while we wait our turn to receive the vaccine.
Although it'll be months before the vaccine is available to the masses, the community will ultimately decide what's best for them.
Schilling added, "We're trying to encourage people, give them transparent information about the vaccines and why we think it's a valuable thing to do, but it's one more decision that people need to make for themselves."
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