A shipment of the Pfizer vaccine arrived at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria on Tuesday. More than 100 hospital workers were vaccinated at three different Dignity Health locations.
Healthcare workers say they were waiting anxiously for this vaccine.
“We've been waiting a long time for it to come and I encourage anyone, everyone to take the vaccine because we got to stop this pandemic some kind of way,” said Fay Robinson, Unit Clerk Monitor Observer.
Robinson was one of the first healthcare workers at Marian Regional to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, including Medical Director of Infectious Disease Dr. J Ritter.
"Physically, it doesn't feel like anything but emotionally, it's amazing. It's important. I mean, I've eaten, drank and slept COVID for the past 9 or 10 months,” Dr. Ritter said.
According to health officials, the people who got the first vaccines were healthcare workers who were most at risk and treat COVID-19 patients on a daily basis, but they say they had to strategize.
“For example, we know that the emergency department and the critical care units are extraordinarily important but we don't want to vaccinate the entire emergency room on day one in case people are not feeling as well as they would expect to feel the next day,” said Dr. Scott Robertson, Marian Regional Chief Medical Officer.
Robertson adds people who have had COVID-19 within the past 90 days are encouraged not to get the vaccine and also says even if you take the vaccine, to continue following COVID-19 safety guidelines.
"So it's certainly possible that even if you are immunized you could still contract COVID-19 and so it's important to understand that and so until the community prevalence as such we still need to be mindful," Dr. Robertson said.
Health officials say the vaccine wasn't mandatory for those who didn't want to take it but add several hundred more healthcare workers will continue to get vaccinated into next week.
According to Marian Regional Medical Center, they expect to get the Moderna vaccine shipped sometime in the middle of next week.