The Future of Fighting COVID-19

First 5 at ZSFG to receive the Pfizer COVID-19 Vaccine


Today’s 5 pioneers were: Antonio Gomez, Medical Director of Critical Care; Alexandra Ames, Computed Tomography technician; Phung Nguyen, RN, Intensive Care Unit (ICU); Starr Knight, Emergency Medicine doctor;  and Otis Morgan, RN, Medical-Surgical COVID-19 unit.

A Historic Day at ZSFG

On December 14th, five members of the team at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital (ZSFG) became the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. They were the first here, as well as the first in San Francisco, and some of the first in the United States to get it. The administration of the vaccine went like clockwork with a palpable silence as the first dose was administered. 

ZSFG and the San Francisco Department of Public Health (SFDPH) have created a plan to administer the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine that requires 2 shots, 21 days apart. The Moderna vaccine requires 2 shots 4 weeks apart. They will use all 1,950 shots of the vaccine we receive for initial shots as soon as possible this week, likely testing processes with a small number of vaccinations Tuesday, then rolling out larger numbers on Wednesday in the Wellness Center. 

The guiding principles for vaccinating staff are to reduce the chance of developing symptomatic COVID-19 disease, including severe disease. We do not yet know if the vaccines prevent asymptomatic disease or prevent transmission of COVID, but intensive research is being done on these questions. The vaccination program will prioritize equity and transparency and is based on the best evidence possible. 

What else we know:

  •  San Francisco will be receiving a total of 12,675 doses of Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; 1,950 doses are coming to ZSFG. The next shipment, from Moderna, could arrive the third week of December. 

  • Staff and providers are categorized into six groups based on their risk of patient and environmental exposure; that will determine the order in which vaccines will be offered. Frontline clinical staff providing direct patient or client care in locations with high exposure to confirmed or suspected COVID-19 disease will be the first to be offered vaccination. 

  •  Many people will have mild to moderate pain at the injection site, fatigue, headaches, muscle pain, fever, chills, and joint pain for a day or two after the injections, but serious side-effects have been rare.  
  • Even after most of ZSFG has been vaccinated, they will still need to use all the PPE they are now. 


 We are so grateful that our frontline healthcare workers will receive the vaccine so soon. As the put it,

“It feels like I have an extra piece of armor on,” shared the Emergency Department’s Dr. Starr Knight.

As we move into this exciting new phase of preventing COVID-19, the needs of the current surge of patients are greater than ever. Make a gift and ensure our frontline workers have what they need to keep up this fight.