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San Diego frontline workers get Pfizer vaccine while Moderna rolls out their shot

Posted at 10:12 PM, Dec 20, 2020

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego frontline workers are getting their first dose of the Pfizer vaccine and hope with the approval of Moderna's vaccine we will achieve herd immunity soon and get back to normal.

Tri-City Medical Center Emergency Room Dr. Jeff Shellenberger said he was grateful he was notified he could get his shot Sunday.

"It was really quick, I think I waited like two minutes," he said.

Timing is critical for the Pfizer vaccine, which needs to be stored between -112°F to -76°, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Once thawed, undiluted vials may be stored at room temperature for no more than 2 hours, according to the Food and Drug Administration.

Dr. Shellenberger said he felt a huge sense of relief wash over him after getting the shot.

"There's going to be a force field around me in a few weeks to months it's going to be amazing!" he joked. "It's really great because when I go to work I don't have to worry about any of my coworkers getting sick. Just the other day I had a patient of mine and he was a coworker and so it's always kind of scary to see that, but it's great to get to see friends and family again and not have to worry."

He said it takes about 5 weeks and two shots to reach full immunity.

The CDC's advisory committee voted Sunday 13-1 frontline essential workers and adults ages 75 and older should be the priority in the next round of COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

Frontline essential workers include first responders, educators, food, agriculture, manufacturing, postal service, grocery and corrections workers.

About 30,000,000 Americans fall into that category.

They suggested the next phase, 1C, prioritizes adults ages 65 - 75, people with pre-existing conditions, and other essential workers.

Initial vaccine doses already are going to residents in long-term care facilities and health care workers.

"Nice to report our Western States Scientific Safety Review Committee reviewed the Moderna trial and unanimously supported it's safety and efficacy," Governor Gavin Newsom said in a video he tweeted Sunday, excited to have two vaccines in their arsenal to fight the pandemic.

Dr. Shellenberger just hopes everyone comes together in 2021.

"I think in this past year we've had a whole lot of division. A lot of us have been using technology unfortunately to sow a greater divide amongst us and I hope that this new technology this amazing vaccine that's super effective, I hope going forward in 2021 we're able to use it to bring humanity together," he said.