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COVID Update: Newsom Urges Californians To Stay Vigilant As Vaccine Arrives; 'Let's Not Run The 90-Yard Dash'

LOS ANGELES (CBS SF) -- Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday marked the arrival of California's first doses of the Pfizer COVID vaccine with enthusiasm, but cautioned residents not to drop their guard against the coronavirus as the state's case number continued to climb.

The governor spoke outside of Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center Monday afternoon after some of the first doses of the Pfizer vaccine were administered to hospital staff there.

The first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine left Michigan early Sunday for 145 distribution centers nationwide. California's initial batch was expected to total 325,000 doses.

On Monday, the state confirmed over 33,000 new COVID cases, an increase of 2.1% over the previous day's reported total. California's current 14-day positivity rate average stood at 10.5 percent.

The vaccine was sent to hospitals and other sites across the country that can store it at extremely low temperatures — about 94 degrees below zero Fahrenheit. Pfizer is using containers with dry ice and GPS-enabled sensors to ensure each shipment stays colder.

Newsom spoke about the arrival of the first doses of the the vaccine after brief speeches from Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and nurse Kim Taylor, one of the first frontline workers in California to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

Newsom said four different locations in the state received the vaccine Monday, with the Kaiser hospital in Los Angeles being one of the destinations; San Diego, San Francisco and Eureka were the other cities in the state to receive the initial delivery of over 33,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine.

The governor went on to say 24 more sites would receive the vaccine on Tuesday and five additional sites would take delivery on Wednesday as the distribution process continues.

"We are hopeful and enthusiastic about the prospect of Moderna following up after Pfizer with an additional 672,600 doses, potentially within a week or so" said Newsom.

Newsom said that the state hoped to receive "anywhere from 2.1 to 2.16 million doses by the end of the calendar year."

While Monday marked an important first step in receiving and distributing the vaccine to frontline workers, Newsom said that enormous challenges remain for California in the fight against COVID-19.

"It is a day where we can lay claim to fresh air of progress versus that stale air of normalcy. But nonetheless, as was stated, we have to be sober and mindful of the moment we are in, which is challenging and trying. Today we received as many doses in the entire state of California as there were new cases in the state of California; over 33,000 recorded," Newsom said. "Averaging 31,000 new cases in this state in the last seven days. 159 people on average have lost their lives every single day in this state, in the last week."

Newsom reiterated the importance of continued vigilance in social distancing and wearing facemasks to mitigate the spread of the virus and the impact of the virus on medical facilities.

"We're in the midst of the worst moment of this pandemic. Today is hopeful and there is reason to be optimistic, but we must be mindful of where we really are in terms of this pandemic," said Newsom.

The governor also noted that the statewide state advisory group signed off on the efficacy and safety of the vaccine, pointing out that several members of that group were also on the Centers for Disease Control approval board. Newsom also said that a guidelines taskforce was working on prioritization for distributing the vaccine to the wide population and ensuring the equity of distribution to all communities in the state.

Newsom also announced the launch of California's "Vaccinate All 58" campaign promising a safe, fair and equitable distribution of the vaccine for all 58 counties in the state

Newsom closed by encouraging California's residents to continue to practice COVID safety even as the state moved closer to widespread distribution of the COVID vaccine.

"I'm down here in the spirit of this moment, enthusiastic that there is light at the end of the tunnel, but mindful that we're still in the tunnel. And that we need to do everything we've done to date, which is that we've outperformed a lot of expectations because many of you, individually, have done the hard work of putting on those masks, the stubborn day-to-day work of keeping your distance from others," said Newsom. "Let's not run the 90-yard dash. The next month, month and a half will be challenging. If we get through that, there is light at the end of the tunnel, as I've said. But there will be resiliency, and renewal, and will be remarkable growth for our state and we know, our nation."


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