'It's game on': Bay Area hospitals prepare to take first delivery of COVID-19 vaccine as soon as Monday

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The first doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 will soon be on the way to California and the Bay Area. An army of medical personnel is ready to take delivery of the long-awaited shots.

"It's a bright shining time, even though the weather is not great today," said Desi Kotis.

UCSF Chief Pharmacy executive Desi Kotis is excited for a special delivery of about a thousand doses of Pfizer's COVID-19 vaccine, she's leading the distribution.

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"We hope to receive the vaccine Monday, we'll start vaccinating on Wednesday," said Kotis.

Health care workers will be first in line to get the first of two doses of the vaccine. UCSF is one of seven medical facilities in the state to take the delivery first. Kotis says UCSF health employees won't be required to get the shot.

"We're not requiring people to get the vaccine, folks can decline or put on pause or decide later to get the vaccine," Kotis said.

UPS and FedEx will be transporting the first doses from Pfizer's plant in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

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"It's game on," said Marin County Health Officer Mark Willis.

Willis expects his doses by Monday. First stop, the county's emergency operation center where ultra cold storage units will be standing by to keep the Pfizer drug stable at 94 below zero, Fahrenheit, local hospitals like Marin General will be the next stop.

"We're prioritizing essential frontline workers, ER, ICU staff and staff at skilled nursing facilities hard hit by the pandemic," he added.

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San Jose State School of Business professor Mark Schwartz warns the rollout may not be perfect.

"We have problems here and there but for the most part, we've had time to plan, I think it will come off smoothly for the most part," said Schwartz.

He says the challenge will be getting enough doses for everyone who wants one and that will take time. UCSF and Marin County say they expect to receive more doses later next week.

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