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Anticipation High As California Creeps Closer To Coronavirus Vaccine Distribution

LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) -- Front line workers in the coronavirus pandemic are encouraging Americans to be more optimistic about the vaccine given the struggles that can come along with a COVID-19 infection.

Longtime nurse Marcia Santini says she would encourage people to take it, especially now that she, her husband and son have been infected with the virus and recently lost coworkers who fell ill with it.

"I understand the concern about the vaccine. I'd be lying to you if I told you I haven't thought about whether or not I'll get it right away or not but now after seeing this virus and how it's affecting my whole family," Santini said. "We just lost two coworkers this week. Two young healthy men who have died."

Santini, who works at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center said her symptoms have varied while she has been quarantining for the last four days but the worst of it so far seems to have passed.

"I took Tylenol PM because I had to sleep and despite taking that, the pain was so bad that I could not sleep," she said. "I was up every hour shifting. It actually got to the point I was crying. It felt like someone was ripping the muscles off my lower back and pelvis."

Health care workers will get the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine, which California is expected to receive more than 300,000 doses that will be distributed to a limited number of hospitals including Cedars Sinai in Southern California.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said the working group of experts met on Saturday to review the safety data and are expecting distribution as early as Sunday.

"The benefit of the vaccine far outweighs the risks of getting this virus. The virus behaves differently in every single one of us," Santini said.

The government has also given the green light to enlist many pharmacies to administer the vaccine, including Walgreens, CVS, Ralphs, Walmart, Vons, Costco, and Pavillions, among others.

California received emergency use authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Friday after meeting rigorous standards.

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