San Diego hospitals lay out plans to distribute vaccines to staff

Posted at 6:04 PM, Dec 10, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-10 21:04:26-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) – The vaccination of a lifetime is just days away for San Diego hospitals. Sharp healthcare administrators are getting ready to distribute thousands of Pfizer vaccines to their front line employees.

“They will sign up and be scheduled,” said VP of Sharp Pharmacy Services, Suzanne Shea. “We don’t want people lining up at the door. We want to make sure we’re maintaining social distancing.”

Shea says their freezers will store the doses at the necessary -80 degrees Celsius. They’ll be moved into refrigerators when they’re ready to be given out.

RELATED: How first COVID-19 vaccines will be distributed to San Diego County's health care workers

The vaccine will not be mandatory for Sharp staff, but it will be available at all of their locations to make it as convenient as possible for employees to get it.

Front line workers like Edsel Montemayor are at the top of the list to get the vaccine. He’s a physical therapist who works with coronavirus patients who have been hospitalized.

“We're right in front of them,” said Montemayor. “Standing them up, face-to-face. The first inclination is to want them to wear a mask so they're not coughing onto you. But, their oxygen saturations are so low that you almost just feel bad for asking them to do so.”

He sees the long-term effects of the virus can have on the body. He says some people can’t even get out of bed. Others have lasting symptoms resembling a recent stroke.

“I've seen a lot of people that won’t return to normal life,” said Montemayor. “It takes a village to see these folks and the nurses are overwhelmed. It's all hands on deck.”

Montemayor says the long-term effects of coronavirus outweigh any potential side effects from getting a vaccine.

Sharp Healthcare says even people who have already had COVID-19 should be vaccinated.