With health care workers across the U.S. receiving the first doses of a COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, local hospitals say they've been preparing for it.
Health officials at Cottage Health in Santa Barbara County say part of that preparation requires a very important tool in which vaccines need to be stored.
"Of course, one of the challenges with the Pfizer vaccine is the need to store it at that ultra-cold temperature for that length of time that you are ready to start administering it,” said Lynn N. Fitzgibbons, Infectious Disease Specialist.
The Pfizer vaccine, which will be one of the first vaccines Santa Barbra County will be receiving, requires ultra-cold storage at -112 degrees Fahrenheit.
"At Cottage Health we've had great preparations in place and have all the facilities ready to go and ready to receive it," Fitzgibbons said.
As health care workers got their COVID-19 vaccine on Monday, Gov. Gavin Newsom addressed the state saying the vaccine won't change the current circumstances.
"You may have seen over this weekend one part of our state, San Joaquin County, ran out of ICU beds. They are officially in surge capacity. We are very close within the next week or so anticipating that to be replicated in other parts of the state,” Newsom said.
In San Luis Obispo County, the health department is also making preparations to distribute the vaccines.
In a statement, Dr. Penny Borenstein said, "The ultimate goal is for everyone to be able to easily get a COVID-19 vaccine as soon as large quantities are available but until then we are going to distribute the limited supply we have to the highest-risk individuals this year."
Cottage Health officials say as soon as they receive the vaccine they will waste no time and will be administering it to their staff.
According to Cottage Health, they will be getting about 935 doses of the vaccine but add that number might change depending on how many the county receives.