Healthcare workers across NJ and Delaware are vaccinated as Philly looks to start vaccinations

Philadelphia officials provide COVID-19 response update as the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived Monday just days after it was approved for emergency use.

Nationwide, shipments of precious frozen vials of vaccine made by Pfizer Inc. and its German partner BioNTech began arriving at hospitals.

With a high-five, Dr. Kelly Abbrescia is off with her first round of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

“Everyone in healthcare is exhausted. We are exhausted and the only light at the end of the tunnel is this vaccine to stop this virus,” Dr. Abbrescia stated.

Dr. Abbrescia was among the first group to receive the shot in Delaware Tuesday morning, at Bayhealth in Dover.

State officials say they expect to receive more than 8,000 doses from Pfizer this week, which will go to healthcare workers, long-term care staff and residents.

“We all talked about the second wave and, honest to God, hoped it wouldn’t happen, but it’s here and, honestly, in my opinion, worse than the first wave,” Dr. Abbrescia remarked.

More shipments of the vaccine are planned to arrive through Wednesday with vaccinations to begin as early Wednesday, as well. 

Philadelphia officials believe that the Moderna vaccine will be able to be given alongside the Pfizer vaccine as soon as next week. 

Those whom are more exposed to COVID-19 due to the nature of their work, those whom are more likely to be more severely sickened by COVID-19, and those whom have a higher risk of spreading COVID-19 are the first three groups that will be given the vaccination.

Then, critical infrastructure workers who do essential work in person and are exposed routinely to COVID-19 will receive the vaccines.

Those whom live in congregate settings will also be prioritized to receive the vaccine sooner. 

Then, those who are over 65 years of age and those with underlying health conditions will be vaccinated.

Health officials are still advising that the public follow recommendations regarding social distancing, mask wearing, and practicing good hygeine.

“I am elated, I thank you father God for this moment!” exclaimed Registered Nurse Maritza Beniquez.

Beniquez received the first vaccine in New Jersey on her 56th birthday, at University Hospital in Newark.

Of the first batch of more than 76,000 Pfizer vaccines coming into the Garden State this week, state officials say 20,000 will go to long term care facilities and the rest will go to 53 hospitals across the state.

“We have no choice, we can’t afford to lose any more people. We cannot,” Beniquez added.

 During a briefing, Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney reviewed how Philadelphia has been using its coronavirus relief fund.

As such, the city continues to implement funds from philanthropic investors and other sources to support its small businesses. 

In total, the city has provided approximately $110 million in funding to small businesses in Philadelphia.

Last week, Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley stated the vaccine could be available in the city as early as this week pending the approval it received over the weekend. He added that a second vaccine, produced by Moderna, could be approved later this week.

If approved, the Moderna vaccine could be available in Philadelphia the following week.

City officials say the number of vaccines available would be limited and the priority group who would receive it would be healthcare workers who are routinely exposed to COVID-19.

As for distribution, Dr. Farley says hospitals and nursing homes could be tasked with vaccinated their own staff once provided with doses.



Philadelphia hospitals receive first doses of Pfizer vaccine Monday

First US COVID-19 vaccinations given as shipments arrive nationwide

If approved, doses of Pfizer vaccine could be available in Philadelphia next week, officials say


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