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10:37 AM

COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Cedars-Sinai

COVID-19 Vaccine Arrives at Cedars-Sinai

HD B-roll Available; Much-Anticipated Vaccine Brings Hope and Relief

Frontline healthcare workers at Cedars-Sinai and the broader Los Angeles community saw light at the end of the pandemic tunnel as the much-anticipated COVID-19 vaccine arrived at the academic medical center Tuesday.

“The arrival of the COVID-19 vaccine signifies a powerful and positive shift change for our community after months of fear, exhaustion and illness,” said Jeff Smith, MD, JD, MMM, chief operating officer of Cedars-Sinai. “Until today, the vaccine was the missing tool in our ever-growing toolkit of treatments and prevention methods against the virus.”

Cedars-Sinai is one of several local hospitals to receive the vaccine developed by Pfizer, Inc. The medical center has capacity to house more than 450,000 doses of the vaccine onsite in several ultra-cold freezers at the vaccine's required -80 degrees Celsius.

Healthcare workers in Cedars-Sinai's intensive care units and Emergency Department will be among the first to be offered vaccinations, which are voluntary.

“Throughout the pandemic, our upmost priority has been the safety of our patients and frontline employees,” said Smith. “We are thrilled to now offer our healthcare heroes a voluntary vaccine, which has shown to be 95% effective thus far.”

The California and Los Angeles County departments of public health will decide when the vaccine will be offered to the general public and how to prioritize groups that receive it. Cedars-Sinai will follow that guidance.

Vaccine recipients will receive two doses, spaced 21 days apart.

The vaccine is intended to supplement other preventive measures like wearing face masks, physically distancing, frequent handwashing and avoiding large gatherings.

“When deciding whether or not to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, we encourage people to rely on the latest scientific data,” said Richard V. Riggs, MD, senior vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer at Cedars-Sinai. “At present, the data, which has been reviewed by the nation's leading healthcare regulators and other experts, favor the vaccine as a safe and powerful way to stop the spread of COVID-19.”

Riggs adds that when enough people in a population are vaccinated, their large numbers help protect the entire community, creating herd immunity.

“These are extraordinary times,” said Riggs. “We remain in an unprecedented national public health emergency that has required unprecedented responses to ensure the safety of our community. This vaccine, along with other preventive measures like social distancing, mask wearing and proper hand hygiene, will help bring us back to a more normal way of life."