NATIONAL CITY, Calif. – The first employee from Paradise Valley Hospital received her Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine Thursday to the applause of colleagues outside of the hospital.
“I feel great,” said Maria Ponce De Leon, a custodian who works in the hospital’s ICU.
Two hundred vaccines have been made available to workers at the hospital with 175 more set to arrive on Monday. Another 900 vaccines are expected to hit the hospital staff in the coming weeks.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Thursday afternoon approved a vaccine developed by Moderna to join the 28,275 Pfizer vaccines already in the region available for civilian acute health care workers.
San Diego County is home to 82,623 health care workers toiling in acute hospital or psychiatric facilities, 39,755 of whom are considered “highest risk” and will receive vaccines first.
The 28,000-plus vaccines will cover about 72% of those slated to be inoculated until more vaccines arrive in California.
In National City, there’s a mixture of emotions for the medical staff as the vaccine is distributed at the same time they’re working with as many as 1,200 seriously sick COVID-19 patients.
Medical officers are warning people to continue to protect themselves and their loved ones. They encourage wearing masks and social distancing as it will be at least until April before vaccines become widely available to the public.