Stanislaus County received the initial shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday as the number of deaths surpass 500 and ICU bed availability was at 4%.
The arrival of 3,900 COVID-19 vaccines is being given to those identified under Phase 1a Tier 1 of the COVID-19 vaccine plan by the federal government and California Department of Public Health, which includes acute healthcare workers who are most at risk of exposure.
“This is a great day, and a rare glimmer of hope during these difficult times,” said Stanislaus County Health Services Agency Public Health Officer Dr. Julie Vaishampayan. “The vaccine will be a vital component of ending this pandemic and restoring our communities.”
The County expects to place weekly requests to CDPH for vaccine allocations and move through the various tier groups. it is still likely to be late spring or early summer before COVID-19 vaccines are broadly available to everyone.
None of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in development in the United States use the live virus, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The vaccines work by teaching the body's immune system to recognize and fight the virus that causes COVID-19. The CDC said it typically takes a few weeks for the body to build immunity after vaccination. That means it’s possible a person could be infected with the virus that causes COVID-19 just before or just after vaccination and get sick. This is because the vaccine has not had enough time to provide protection.
The arrival of the vaccine came one day before Stanislaus County passed a grim milestone for deaths. On Friday the SCHSA reported 509 COVID-19 deaths in the County and 29,040 positive cases.
Hospitals in Stanislaus County and all over California continue to report more and more people contracting the virus and being hospitalized. Stanislaus County currently has 281 people hospitalized with confirmed COVID-19 cases and nine suspected cases. An additional 71 people are in the intensive care units in Stanislaus County.
As a result of the skyrocketing hospitalizations, the state implemented a mass fatality program that coordinates resources and efforts across multiple agencies. The program was created in 2006 and is put into action when the number of deaths outpaces what local coroner offices can handle. Among the resources are 60 refrigerated trucks to act as makeshift morgues and 5,000 body bags.