The coronavirus vaccine arrives in Coachella Valley, 5 Desert Regional workers receive first doses

By KESQ News Team
December 17, 2020

The coronavirus vaccine has arrived in Coachella Valley.

A shipment from Pfizer arrived at Desert Regional Medical Center Thursday morning, a hospital spokesperson confirmed to News Channel 3.

News Channel 3 has a reporter at the hospital speaking with the first medical providers to receive the vaccine. Watch for live coverage at 12:00 on News Channel 3 at Noon.

Dr. Shubha Kerkar, Chairperson of Infectious Diseases at Desert Regional, called vaccines “silver linings.” She stressed that the vaccine is safe and effective.

Other healthcare workers supported Dr. Kerkar’s hope that everyone receives a vaccine, one saying “Just me getting the vaccine is not enough. We need enough people vaccinated.” Others said, “This pandemic needs to be stopped,” and in the spirit of hope, “We’re all excited; we’re all ready to begin living again.”

Hospital workers who have the highest potential for direct or indirect exposure to coronavirus are targeted to receive the first doses. The first of those shots were administered Thursday morning, according to Todd Burke, the medical center’s Director of Communications and Public Relations.

Medical professionals who are the first to be vaccinated in Coachella Valley include:

  • Yuri Sanchez, Nursing Assistant and Monitor Tech, Emergency Department
  • Dr. Arun Thunga, Anesthesiologist
  • Dr. Shubha Kerkar, Chairperson of Infectious Diseases, DRMC
  • Sandi Aaronson, Respiratory Therapist
  • Dr. Rick Axelrod, Chair, Desert Regional Governing Board andCEO, Lifestream
Desert Regional Medical Center is equipped with the specialized freezers required to keep the vaccine exceptionally cold.

According to Riverside County health officials, the first amount of Pfizer vaccine allocations for three local hospitals are:

  • Desert Regional Medical Center: 1,140
  • Eisenhower Hospital 1,140
  • JFK Hospital 805
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