After nearly a year of fighting against COVID-19, there is light before the end of the tunnel as the vaccine will soon come to the Imperial Valley.
A government advisory panel on Thursday, Dec. 10, backed the use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, paving the way for the Food and Drug Administration to grant the vaccine the final green light.
In a 17-4 vote with one abstention, the committee of health experts concluded that the shot appears safe and effective for emergency use in people 16 and older. This means the inoculation will likely become the first approved in the U.S. to beat the virus that’s killed nearly 300,000 Americans.
This was a critical step during this pandemic as the second wave of COVID-19 is overwhelming the Intensive Care Units. As of Dec.10, there were no beds available at El Centro Regional Medical Center. CEO Adolphe Edward said they will receive help from the state this weekend to help them with the patients.
The total active cases in Imperial County surpassed the 1,700 active cases which is the highest number since March.
Imperial County Public Health Officer Dr. Stephen Munday said that they are anxiously waiting for the FDA to approve the Pfizer vaccine so it can be given to the frontline workers as they are the ones who will get the vaccine first.
“We will give to our frontline workers so that we can maintain a strong medical service in Imperial Valley,” Dr. Munday said during a joint press conference. “We are already been doing the behind-the-scenes work to do the logistics and identifying people that will receive the vaccine.”
The county will be receiving 975 dozes of the Pfizer vaccine and 1,200 dozes from Moderna.
“We want to make the biggest impact in our community with what will be getting,” Munday added. “We want to be ready as soon as we get them.
Gov. Gavin Newsom said Californians will likely see the first doses of Pfizer’s new COVID-19 vaccine arrive between Dec. 12 and 15.
The coveted first batch is reserved for health care workers directly caring for COVID-19 patients in hospitals, including psychiatric and prison hospitals, residents and staff in long-term care facilities, paramedics and other emergency medical responders, and workers in dialysis centers, according to priorities set by state and federal health officials.
Imperial County has been hit hard by the second wave as ICU beds are now at capacity. The numbers are going up due to the community spread by people that live in the valley. This is something that local hospitals needed to adapt to.
“With COVID 2.0 our doctors and medical staff have become more sophisticated on how they work and treat their patients as they have learned from the first wave back in March,” said Adolphe Edward, CEO of El Centro Regional Medical Center.