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The COVID-19 Vaccine is Here!!

"The vaccine is our dawn. It's the warm sun finally rising over the horizon and giving us hope," said Gary Herbst, CEO of Kaweah Delta. "I just wish it was in larger quantities sooner so we could begin inoculating a much larger percentage of our population and really start developing that widespread immunity."

On December 18, Kaweah Delta Medical Center began vaccinating healthcare workers at highest risk of exposure to COVID-19. Dr. Wally Huynh, an internal medicine physician, who has cared for an estimated 150 COVID patients, was the first to be vaccinated.

"It's definitely an honor and a blessing to receive the vaccine because it's going to help protect myself, my family, my coworkers, and my community," said Dr. Huynh after receiving his vaccination.

Vaccinations started the same day Kaweah Delta was caring for 145 COVID-19 patients at its Medical Center, with 17 COVID patients in its 41-bed ICU. Six days earlier, Kaweah Delta reached an all-time high of 150 COVID-19 admissions.

On December 17, Sierra View Medical Center (SVMC), received the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccination for the initial round of immunizations from the Tulare Public Health Department. Sierra View immediately started administering to high-risk area front-line staff and physicians who have opted-in to receive the vaccination.

"We are very excited to be getting the vaccination to some of our staff today, and these are the high-risk direct care providers who are getting the Pfizer vaccine," said SVMC Chief Nursing Officer Dr. Jeffery Hudson-Covolo, DNP. "There are many healthcare workers who have been waiting for this opportunity. It will provide a level of protection for those that take the series of immunizations providing antibodies to the SARS CoV-2 virus."

The first round of immunizations were given out to those identified as high-risk. Approximately 50 front-line healthcare workers received their vaccination on the first day it was available.

The first staff member to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at SVMC, and one of the very first in Tulare County, was ICU Registered Nurse Kathy Hughes, who has been serving at the bedside of patients in life-threatening situations including COVID-19 patients.

What You Need to Know

You need two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A second shot three or four weeks after your first shot (depending on the manufacturer) is needed to get the most protection.

Because the current supply of COVID-19 vaccine in the United States is limited, CDC recommends that initial supplies of COVID-19 vaccine be offered to healthcare personnel and long-term care facility residents.

The goal is for everyone to be able to easily get vaccinated against COVID-19 as soon as large enough quantities are available. Once the vaccine is widely available, the plan is to have several thousand vaccination providers offering COVID-19 vaccines in doctors' offices, retail pharmacies, hospitals, and federally qualified health centers.

Vaccine doses purchased with U.S. taxpayer dollars will be given to the American people at no cost.

To learn your level of priority to get the vaccine, based on age, health and career, visit


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