A local doctor called the vaccine a dagger behind the coronavirus.
A hospital president said Thursday was an important date in the community’s history, a beacon of hope at the end of a very long tunnel.
Bakersfield hospitals administered the first doses of the newly arrived coronavirus vaccine to several directors, doctors and hospital staff, while front-line hospital workers applauded and cheered on Thursday.
“We should go for it – all of us,” said Dr. Arash Heidari, director of the Kern Medical Infectious Diseases Exchange, and probably the first person in Bakersfield to be immunized with the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“The more people immunized,” Heidari said, “the sooner the pandemic will end.”
The vaccine Heidari received was given at Kern Medical by hospital chief pharmacist Jeff Jolliff, who called Heidari a “true hero” for his work since the pandemic broke out.
It only took a few seconds to inject the vaccine, and after he finished, Jolliff said, “You’re vaccinated.”
After nine months of enduring the pandemic and blockages, restrictions, fears and losses, the arrival of the vaccine has been recorded as historic for many, especially for medical professionals who have seen it up close, who have watched patients and even colleagues. they came down with extremely contagious and sometimes deadly disease.
Later in the afternoon, Mercy President and CEO Bruce Peters became the first at Mercy to receive vaccination from registered nurse Kim Walker.
Peters said he went first because he didn’t want to ask hospital staff to do something they weren’t willing to do. And he wants the community to know he’s safe.
The vaccine is given in two doses three weeks apart, so Peters and everyone else who receives the vaccine must return for the second injection.
“The benefits of the vaccine far outweigh the risks,” Peters said.
Commonly reported side effects include injection site pain, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, chills, joint pain, and fever, according to the FDA, which has approved the vaccine for people 16 years of age and older.
“Even after you receive the vaccine, it is important to remain masked,” said Peters, who added that he will continue to follow the rules.
The vaccine has been shown to be 94% effective, he said. “That means it won’t be effective for 6 out of 100 people.”
“It is important that we continue to follow the guidelines,” he said.
Dr. Brij Bhambi, the medical director of Bakersfield Heart Hospital, became the first person to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at the hospital on Thursday.
The ICU nurse, Lucy Valdovinos-Barrison, was also the first hospital nurse to receive the vaccine.
But Bakersfield Heart Hospital went much further on Thursday, vaccinating 75 doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists who have the potential to expose patients or infectious materials.
There was also a sense of relief at Adventist Health Bakersfield after the city center hospital received its first shipment of vaccines. Dr. Ronald Reynoso, market medical officer for Adventist Health Bakersfield and Tehachapi Valley, said the vaccine is a worldwide hope.
“We are delighted with the arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine – it offers this hope that everyone in Kern County and around the world has wanted it,” Reynoso said in a statement. “We are honored for our caregivers to be among the first to receive the vaccine, as we protect our front-line staff and continue to care for our patients.
“We look forward to the vaccine being delivered more widely in the community,” he said.
Scott Thygerson, president of Kern Medical, hospital and clinic operations, said East Bakersfield Hospital has been providing medical care to Kern residents for 150 years. And Thursday was one of those dates that will be remembered as historic.
Thygerson said, “It’s one of those important days in our community.”