“This vaccine is the light at the end of the tunnel for all of us,” Dr. Hubert Wong, Orange Coast Medical Center’s first doctor to receive the vaccine, said in a press release. “I can’t wait for everyone to return to a state of normalcy.”
MemorialCare announced the immunizations Dec. 21, saying two of its hospitals—Orange Coast in Fountain Valley and Saddleback Memorial Center in Laguna Hills—administered their first COVID-19 vaccinations last week.
Intensive care unit (ICU) nurse Brenda Acosta was among those to receive an injection.
“I’m excited and hopeful,” she said. “I’m looking forward to a safer future for all of us.”
The vaccinations come as Southern California hospitals struggle with record-level hospitalizations amid the surging COVID-19 pandemic. Orange County recorded 4,606 new cases Dec. 21, and 15 deaths. The Southern California regional ICU availability stood at zero percent.
Orange Coast Medical Center and Saddleback Medical Center CEO Marcia Manker greeted the vaccinations with optimism.
“We can finally see the light at the end of what once appeared to be an endless tunnel,” Manker said in a press release.
“From the very beginning, the MemorialCare family has embraced every challenge presented by the virus by taking the necessary precautions to protect our staff and patients, and with a tireless commitment to providing the highest quality of care to those afflicted. With the delivery of this vaccine, we are more hopeful than ever that we can defeat the virus.”
With the first round of vaccinations now underway, MemorialCare urged its communities to slow the spread of COVID-19 by following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines.
“While the vaccine is not immediately available to the public, MemorialCare is working diligently on procuring as many doses as possible to meet the needs of our healthcare workers, patients, and community,” Manker said.
“Until then, we ask everyone to continue to take the necessary steps to protect themselves and those around them to prevent and minimize the spread of COVID-19.”