They made history Monday in a conference room at the Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center on Sunset Boulevard.
It took about 45 minutes, and it was the beginning of the end for COVID-19 in California.
The vaccine rollout to five healthcare workers started shortly after 12:15 p.m. and wrapped up around 12:54.
Gov. Gavin Newsom, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, state Health and Human Services Secretary Mark Ghaly, L.A. County Supervisor Hilda Solis and other officials and medical workers were present.
After each shot was administered, cheers broke out from the room of masked observers.
“This is yours?” Newsom asked Helen Cordova, a nurse in the intensive care unit and the first healthcare worker at the facility to receive the vaccine. “That’s mine,” she said, pointing to the dose held by hospital pharmacy supervisor David Cheng.
“Protect me,” she said laughing, before Marilyn Lansangan, a senior nurse for internal medicine, gave her the vaccine.
“I’m very excited that we have the vaccine, because it provides hope for the future,” Cordova said afterward.
The COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech is now in California and could be distributed within hours.
The others who received a dose were Kim Taylor, a nurse in the emergency department; Brian Thompson, a doctor in the emergency department; Angela Balam, a worker in environmental services; and Raul Aguilar, a worker in respiratory therapy.
But the ceremony was just a brief respite for the personnel, who are dealing with a surge of patients sickened by COVID-19.
Taylor, 53, said that when she arrived at the hospital Monday morning, four patients were waiting for a bed in the ICU. Wait times can take hours to days.
“It’s way busier now that it was initially,” Taylor said, months after the hospital began caring for COVID-19 patients.