COVID-19 vaccinations begin at Los Al Medical Center

Vaccines administered to frontline workers at Los Alamitos Medical Center

Frontline healthcare workers at Los Alamitos Medical Center are getting vaccinated in large numbers to immunize against COVID-19.

The Medical Center received its portion of the approximately 25,000 doses of the vaccine available to Orange County last week, and immediately began executing a plan that took shape over months.

RN Aneliese Burrell was one of the first to get vaccinated.

“This is the best holiday present ever!” Burrell said. “I’m so grateful to be taking part in this historic moment. I am so relieved that we have reached this important milestone and proud to be one of the very first vaccinated.”

The Medical Center did not provide specifics on how many doses of the vaccine it received from the Orange County Health Care Agency, and how many staffers have been vaccinated, but federal, state and local reporting guidelines will be followed.

“I can share that we’ve had a really strong turnout across all of our facilities,” said Jennifer Bayer, communications manager.

Orange County is seeing a surge in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. On Sunday of this week, 4,606 cases were reported, according to the Health Care Agency.

That’s the highest daily number to date in the county.

Overall, the Health Care Agency had reported 124,428 cases and 1,775 deaths. One thousand six hundred and eighty two patients were hospitalized with the virus and 375 were in ICU, resulting in ICU-bed capacity dropping.

The surge, which County Supervisor Doug Chaffey has called a “tsunami,” is overwhelming the system, said Dr. Clayton Chau, director of the Health Care Agency.

“Our hospitals are now bombarded,” Chau told county supervisors last week. “The emergency rooms have no capacity to triage people as quick as they can.”

“I have never been so afraid of Christmas and the New Year in my life,” he added. “I can’t imagine what it will be like after the holiday if people are not listening, if people are not complying, if people are defiant and get together.”

Shipments of a second vaccine created by Moderna Inc. and the National Health Institute, and OK’d by the FDA, are expected to arrive in California this week.

At press time, it was unclear when Orange County health officials will receive doses and distribute them to healthcare organizations.