On Sunday, Dec. 13 Governor Gavin Newsom quoted, “Hope Has Arrived.” In a retweet of the Los Angeles International Airport that showed a FedEx Airbus 300 grounded after landing in California. “The first batch of COVID-19 vaccines has arrived in Los Angeles at LAX. This is a major milestone for science, our country and our community. Thank you to all those who made this delivery possible, and are part of the incredible effort to distribute vaccines around the world,” tweeted LAX.
Under the direction of Operation Warp Speed, FedEx is to deliver the vaccines to the western half of the United States, and UPS is to deliver on the eastern half. With some shipments being escorted by the United States Marshals service. “This is what we were built for. We plan for things like this regularly. Maybe not on this scale, with all the ins and outs, but we are well versed in this type of planning,” said FedEx Express regional vice president, Richard Smith.
The vaccines were shipped in custom thermal boxes that allowed for 50 pounds of dry ice. The boxes were loaded onto FedEx distribution trucks and the first doses in the valley arrived at UC Davis Health, one of seven distribution hospitals in California, on Monday. “This is truly the beginning of the end on the war on the pandemic,” said CEO of UC Davis Health, Dr. David Lubarsky. “One cannot waste one minute when getting the vaccine to our workforce. We owe it to them.” Other hospital distribution sites in Northern California include, UC San Francisco Medical Center and Mercy Medical Center in Redding, CA. Along with UC Davis Health, these hospitals will act as some of the first distribution hospitals that the vaccines will be stored and shipped across the region from. The three hospitals have met requirements set by the Department of Public Health in logistics and storage. The vaccines require large-scale storage at minus 95 degrees Fahrenheit.
First doses of the vaccine will be given to frontline healthcare workers and hospitals will each determine a tier system for administering the shots, which will be in two doses, three weeks apart. As for Stanislaus County, it is expected that 3,900 doses of the Pfizer vaccine will be making their way this week. The vaccines will be heading to acute care hospitals like Doctors, Memorial, Emmanuel, Kaiser, and Oak Valley.
Residents in long-term care facilities will also be a priority to receive the vaccine, but their vaccines will be distributed separately than those vaccines allocated for health care workers. It is expected that California will receive at least two million doses of the vaccine by the end of the month, and six million by the end of January as the county approaches 30,000 cases.
Governor Newsom continues to implore Californians to continue doing their due diligence while vaccine distribution commences. “To help end this pandemic and move toward phased vaccine distribution across our state, we are calling on all Californians to continue doing their part by following local and state guidance, wearing a mask and staying home. Together we will get through this and move forward to a healthy, safer, resilient California for all.”