It was just after six in the morning in California on Monday when the first shot began to ring across the country.
A vaccine had arrived.
“I feel like the cure is coming,” said Sandra Lindsay, the intensive care nurse in Queens, New York, whose officials said was the first person in the country to be vaccinated against Covid-19 outside of the trials. . “I hope this is the beginning of the end of a very painful time in our history.”
Later in the day, Governor Gavin Newsom and Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti watched as health workers at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center pulled up the sleeves of their scrubs to receive some of California’s first shots.
The governor and mayor chatted and posed for the cameras. Masked workers applauded as the shots were administered.
[Track coronavirus cases and hospitalizations with The Times’s map.]
An intensive care nurse, Helen Cordova, 32, was the first time – both at the large hospital on Sunset Boulevard and in the state, according to to the governor’s office.
“I feel great,” she said, wearing a mask and blue scrubs in a short video on Twitter. “I’m excited, I have hope.”
While the day marked an undeniable turning point in the pandemic – the start of a massive high-stakes logistics venture with FedEx trucks, ultra-cold storage and sensitive timing – California leaders softened their relief Monday with calls for vigilance.
“We keep that horror and that hope together,” said Mr Garcetti. “While we’re celebrating, don’t let it stop.”
The virus continues to overwhelm hospitals, even as millions of Californians live under the strictest regulations introduced by the state since the spring.
[Read about restrictions in place now.]
As of Monday, intensive care units in the San Joaquin Valley were still full, and intensive care capacity in the vast Southern California region was down to 2.7 percent.
Yet the wheels are moving.
As Hilda Solis, a Los Angeles County supervisor who also spoke at the hospital on Monday, put it, “The off-disaster is clearly visible.”
Here’s what else you may want to know about the California vaccine rollout:
How many doses has California been given and where are they going?
Mr. Newsom, speaking outside the Los Angeles hospital early Monday afternoon, said about 33,000 doses of the vaccine had arrived in California and were scattered across locations across the state. (He added the grim observation that that was about the number of new virus cases reported Monday.)
The remainder of the state’s initial allocation of about 327,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine was underway in the coming days, he said. They are divided into regions in the state. (You can see here how many doses have been set to go to each region.)
As the governor has repeatedly pointed out, those go to a small fraction of California’s roughly 2.4 million health workers who require two shots a few weeks apart.
Monday afternoon, the governor leaves said on Twitter that he had just learned from Pfizer that 393,000 doses would be sent to California next week.
By the end of the month, the state estimates it will have received about 2.1 million doses and, of course, more in the new year.
[Look up how many vaccine doses are set to go to each state.]
How does the state prioritize who gets vaccinated?
As is the case in much of the country, primary health workers will have first priority, followed by people living in long-term care facilities.
Then it becomes a little less precise; the state has released its vaccine introduction plan, which will help experts develop plans to distribute more doses as they become available.
Clearly, essential workers, and then those who are older or have health risks, will be next, ahead of the rest of the general public. But there are millions of essential workers, and already, as The Los Angeles Times recently reported, companies are thronging to get their employees vaccinated.
Mr Newsom said that teachers “will be a priority”.
Ms Solis also stressed Monday, as did Mr Newsom, that health equality will be at the top of the agenda.
What Happened to California’s Independent Vaccine Review?
If you need a quick refresher, the governor announced in October that the state would be conducting its own, independent evaluation of federally approved coronavirus vaccines, as leaders across the country feared that the federal vaccine approval process would be politicized. Then, a week later, the governors of Washington, Oregon, and Nevada said they would join California’s efforts.
Thus, the Western States Scientific Safety Review Workgroup was born, which Sunday confirmed the federal review process that gave the Pfizer vaccine the green light.
When Mr. Newsom announced the review, he said the group would not slow down the distribution of the vaccine. And this week, the state described the panel’s work as parallel to that of the federal government.
How are the vaccines shipped? Where do you get your vaccine if you are not a key worker or part of a high-risk group? Are there any side effects?
My colleagues have answered those questions and more here, in this comprehensive piece.
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Here’s what you need to know today
Joseph R. Biden Jr. got his 306 electoral votes yesterday, formalizing his victory in the presidential election. And California 55 votes officially pushed him over the 270-vote threshold. [The New York Times]
Also: Can Congress destroy the results of the electoral college? Probably not. [The New York Times]
In the aftermath of his faux pas in the French laundry, Mr. Newsom unveiled a new ethics policy, subject to any paid campaign or political adviser to also work as a lobbyist. But it’s unclear how the policy would apply to someone like the lobbyist whose birthday party Mr. Newsom attended at the Napa Valley restaurant. [The Sacramento Bee]
“It can happen to anyone.” The artist FKA twigs sued the actor Shia LaBeouf in Los Angeles, referring to a relentlessly abusive relationship. [The New York Times]
If you missed it, code breakers just cracked one of the Zodiac Killer numbers. [The San Francisco Chronicle]
And finally …
The Cliff House, the San Francisco eatery that’s been open in one form or another for over 150 years, will close for good at the end of the month. The restaurant’s current owners have said the pandemic didn’t help, but the move was ultimately the result of a long-running dispute with the National Park Service, which owns the building overlooking the sea.
Dan and Mary Hountalas have been running the restaurant since 1973 and have worked for years to restore it, according to a history the restaurant has aired, along with a statement about its closure.
The couple “adorned with hand-painted valances, silver leaf and hand-pressed copper ceilings, Bradbury and Bradbury wall coverings, antique furniture and historic photographs to create an elegant, comfortable setting that transports visitors to a bygone era,” the document said.
Now, the statement said, many of the memorabilia collected over the years will be auctioned off, “lost forever.”
My colleague Jim Wilson visited the Cliff House on Monday and captured these images.
California Today goes live at 6:30 AM Pacific Time during the week. Tell us what you want to see: [email protected]. Was this email forwarded? Sign up for California Today here and read each edition online here.
Jill Cowan grew up in Orange County, graduated from UC Berkeley, and has reported all over the state, including the Bay Area, Bakersfield, and Los Angeles, but she always wants to see more. Follow here or further Twitter.
California Today is edited by Julie Bloom, who grew up in Los Angeles and graduated from UC Berkeley.