'It's imminent': Bay Area hospitals get ready for COVID-19 vaccine arrival as soon as Monday

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- It's all hands on deck at Bay Area hospitals as the countdown to take delivery of the first COVID-19 vaccine doses reaches the final countdown.

"We're actually prepared to receive it if it comes early," said nurse Lisa Schilling.

Schilling says Stanford Health Care is ready at the loading dock to take delivery of Pfizer's COVID-19 Vaccine as early as Wednesday.

"We expect to get 3,900 doses to help vaccinate our front line work force providing care everyday," said Schilling.

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A UCSF doctor is breaking down who will likely be first to get a coronavirus vaccine after Gov. Newsom announced California is set to receive more than 327,000 doses of the Pfizer shot.

Schilling says a team of 60 has been planning for the vaccine's arrival. Getting ultra cold storage units ready, even running timed practice vaccine drills.

"So you literally get people in a room simulating all of that, pretending you're giving the vaccine at that time," she added.

The first doses will arrive in the Bay Area via FedEx and UPS, possibly at their freight hubs at the Oakland International Airport, then be shipped out to hospitals on refrigerated big rig trucks. The shipping companies would not disclose any transport details due to security reasons.

"I'll be getting a vaccine as soon as they'll give me one," said UCSF Epidemiologist Dr. George Rutherford.

Rutherford says UCSF is on stand-by to get its first doses.

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As the first batch of vaccines makes its way to California for health care workers and nursing home residents, work is underway to determine what groups will be next.

"It's imminent," said Rutherford.

How soon? Very soon says UCSF Pharmacy executive Desi Kotis.

"We hope to receive vaccines at UCSF Monday or Tuesday, we'll start vaccinating on Wednesday," Kotis said.

Building a Better Bay Area: Vaccine Watch

Marin County's vaccine shipment, scheduled to arrive at the emergency operation Center on Monday, has been pushed back until Wednesday.

"We've been working with the hospitals, making sure we're ready once vaccine arrived, those plans will be put into place this week," said Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer.

It could be months before the general public gets vaccinated. In the meantime, Governor Gavin Newsom issued a statement: "We are calling on all Californians to continue doing their part by following local and state guidance, wearing a mask and staying home."

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