Frontline workers in Riverside County begin receiving COVID-19 vaccine

Brendan Williams, Rapid Response Code Team RN, at Riverside Community Hospital receives COVID-19 vaccine

The first shipment of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine has arrived in Riverside County.

The county is expecting more than 25,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine
over the next two weeks in total, with some going to the hospitals directly
and the rest to the county.

Two frontline workers at Riverside Community Hospital were among the first people in the county to receive the vaccine. 

The hospital received their shipment on Thursday and by Friday morning Alisha Hampton ER RN and Brendan Williams with the Rapid Response Code Team RN were administered the first dose. 

Officials at Riverside Community Hospital say they received 1,000 doses of the vaccine and will administer them to their frontline works over the next couple of days.

Health care workers at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs
were also among the first to be inoculated.

"It's a beautiful feeling here. We're all very excited and hopeful that this is the beginning of a new chapter,'' said Todd Burke, spokesman for Tenet Healthcare, which operates the hospital.

Four frontline health care workers and a member of the hospital's governing board were each inoculated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine shortly after the hospital received 975 doses directly from the manufacturer early Thursday, hospital officials said.

Those inoculated include an anesthesiologist, nursing assistant, respiratory therapist and infectious disease physician.

Desert Regional has begun widespread vaccination of additional frontline health care workers. The hospital has the capacity to administer 120 doses per day, Burke said.

The hospital is expecting another 165 does to be sent from Riverside County in the near future.

The vaccine has been found to be 95% effective in preventing COVID-19,
according to Pfizer and U.S. officials.

Riverside University Medical Center in Moreno Valley also started receiving its allotment of 1,900 vaccines directly from Pfizer, the largest dispensation of any county hospital.

RELATED: Stay up to date on all coronavirus-related information

According to Kim Saruwatari with the Riverside County Public Health, majority of the vaccines will come directly to the department of public health to be distributed. 

She says general and acute-care hospitals will be served first followed by skilled nursing facilities, first responders, emergency medical technicians and then paramedics.

The second shipment of between 10,000 and 11,000 vials will be in the county's possession between Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, according to Saruwatari.

"We have distribution plans in place and will get the vaccines out as fast as we can,'' she told the board, adding that hospitals are expected to carry out their vaccination programs within a five-day period.

City News Service contributed to this report 

Get your top stories delivered daily! Sign up for FOX 11’s Fast 5 newsletter. And, get breaking news alerts in the FOX 11 News app. Download for iOS or Android.