Health care workers at UC Davis Medical Center among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccine

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) – The Sacramento region’s first doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine were administered to workers at UC Davis Medical Center Tuesday, marking what many are calling the beginning of the end for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Nearly 5,000 doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine arrived at UC Davis Medical Center and one by one, health care workers rolled up their sleeves for the shot. 

Nurse Eva Teniola was the first to be immunized Tuesday.

“Thank goodness the vaccine is here. It’s happening! And soon, hopefully, everybody will be vaccinated and we’ll go back to our normal,” Teniola said.

For medical assistant Marites Ramos, immunization came with a bit of deja vu.

“It’s like any other shot I’ve ever taken,” Ramos said. “I mean, my arm doesn’t hurt, it’s not as bad as a flu shot. I thought it’d be worse.”

She volunteered to take part in Pfizer’s clinical trials at the medical center over the summer. On Tuesday though, Ramos learned she got a placebo during the study and received the real vaccine.

“It’s just knowing and having that assurance that I will be safe,” Ramos explained.

Staff members who deal closely with COVID-19 patients received first priority, from doctors, nurses and respiratory therapists to workers who clean rooms and greet patients.

“This is legendary. This is historical. I’m very excited,” said nurse Claudio Alvarado.

Alvarado knows firsthand the devastating impacts of the virus having traveled to New York to treat patients during its surge in cases.

“We saw many patients pass away. We saw many patients suffer. I never want that to happen here in California or to my family or to my friends,” Alvarado explained.

Alvarado said he hopes the vaccine gives him a shot at protecting his loved ones.

“This is why I’m getting the vaccine and it’s why I implore everyone to get the vaccine,” Alvarado said.

The vaccine does require another dose in 21 days.

Officials told FOX40 they are trying to stagger who receives doses of the vaccine between a variety of different departments in case health care workers exhibit side effects and need to call out sick.

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