Sharp Health prepares to begin distributing COVID-19 vaccine

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – As the vaccine of a lifetime begins distribution in San Diego, other health care systems are still waiting for their shipments to arrive. However, they aren’t wasting any time preparing to begin giving the first dose as soon as they’re able.

Sharp Health confirmed today that their shipment is on the way to their facilities directly from Pfizer.

“We received confirmation that our allocation would be coming directly from Pfizer to our Sharp centralized pharmacy,” said Suzanne Shea, Vice President of Pharmacy Services. “We’re finally on the road to recovery. It’s the beginning of the road to that day where we’re not in a pandemic anymore.”

She said the news that they are days, if not hours from receiving their first doses kicked off a series of planning procedures including allowing employees a chance to sign up for their time to get vaccinated.

“Over the next month obviously, we’re going to try to vaccinate as many of our employees as possible, all those part the states Phase 1A plan,” Shea said. “There’s a ranking of the highest exposure employees, the highest, low and then moderate, so we will work through those phases as the state allows allocations to come through to Sharp.”

San Diego County’s first shipment of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine is enough to vaccinate roughly 70% of all critical health care workers identified by the state. In the meantime they are urging the public to continue following all health protocols as hospitals are strained with new patients and cases rise.

“This isn’t going to happen overnight, it’s going to be a number of months before the vaccine roles out for the general population,” Shea said. “In the meantime, we have to continue to have those precautions. We have to wear our face masks, socially distance, wash our hands and all of those great things.”

As the world enters this next phase of the pandemic, many health care workers have had to take on a new role: myth busters. They say dispelling misinformation is critical in making sure people trust that the vaccine is safe to take.

“It is important, and you’ll hear this over and over again, that 70% of the population needs to take the vaccine for it to work,” Shea said. “In order to get out of this, we have to all do it. It’ll be a leap of faith for some people, but I’m signing up for the vaccine.”

Hoping that as frontline workers set the example, the public will have faith and trust that this vaccine is safe.

“The virus is worse than the side effects. That’s what’s important,” Shea said. “Don’t let that part scare you, I think it’s important that everyone recognize that this virus continuing is far far worse than the side effects that people may incur.”

Categories: Coronavirus, Local San Diego News