COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Valley Children’s

Aerial photo of Valley Children's Hospital

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, Valley Children’s received its first shipment of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine. The hospital will house Pfizer vaccines for all of Madera County, due to its ability to store up to 200,000 doses in special, ultra-low temperature freezers.

“This is such an important day,” says Dr. Karen Dahl, Valley Children’s vice president of quality, patient safety and medical affairs. “It really is the first day where we can really think about turning the tide against this pandemic and the hope that we have for 2021 being a different year.”

The Madera County Department of Public Health and Valley Children’s Healthcare are working closely in COVID-19 planning efforts regarding distribution and administration of the COVID-19 vaccine. Valley Children’s is one of 33 pre-positioning sites in California to receive the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines. Madera County sets allocation numbers and will coordinate with Valley Children’s should other counties need assistance with storage of the vaccine.

Valley Children’s will begin distribution of the Pfizer vaccine to its clinical care teams on Wednesday, Dec. 16. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and California Department of Public Health (CDPH) have laid out guidelines for a five-step, phased allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. For Phase 1A, the agencies’ recommendations are to give priority to healthcare personnel, with the goal of maintaining operations of acute care hospitals during a surge, followed by residents and personnel of long-term care facilities (Phase 1B).

“I’m really confident as an infectious disease doctor in this vaccine and the process that it went through to evaluate its efficacy and its safety,” adds Dr. Dahl. “I’m a believer in vaccines in general and have followed the development of this one.”

According to county health officials, a timeline for distribution – and list of locations - to the general public has not yet been determined.

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